Reagan Ramsower, a longtime senior Baylor University administrator who has played a key role in the school’s current era of growth and increased financial stability but has also been the target of recent criticism during Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, will resign as senior vice president and chief operating officer in May 2018.

Baylor President Linda Livingstone notified faculty and staff of the news on Wednesday morning. Ramsower will rejoin the Hankamer School of Business as a full-time professor.

He has long overseen key areas of the university, including financial operations, human resources and campus safety.

“Most recently, I felt it important to help Baylor through a very difficult time in the University’s history,” Ramsower said in a statement. “This is an institution I love dearly and has been a part of my family for many generations. With the hiring of President Livingstone, the door has opened for a new Baylor administration, and she has my full support and help as she leads the University into the future and rebuilds a fresh leadership team.”

In an email, Livingstone wrote, “I appreciate Dr. Ramsower’s leadership and deep calling for the University, particularly over the past two years.”

Baylor paid Ramsower $381,989 between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016, according to the most recently available IRS report.

The move continues a high-level Baylor shakeup since Livingstone’s presidency began in June. Provost and Executive Vice President L. Gregory Jones resigned in June, and Vice President of Constituent Engagement Tommye Lou Davis will leave that post next month and return to the faculty.

Ramsower’s handling of the Baylor Police Department came under fire during a sexual assault scandal that has plagued the university over the past year and a half. Patty Crawford, the Title IX coordinator who resigned last year and waged a public battle with the university, accused Ramsower of denying her resources and independence to do her job.

After Ken Starr was fired as president in May 2016, along with head football coach Art Briles, Ramsower led a task force focused on sexual assault response and the implementation of 105 related recommendations from Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Months later, Crawford said Ramsower was responsible for a culture of discrimination at Baylor, which Ramsower flatly denied.

“It’s extremely difficult to hear people put words in your mouth that you didn’t say, but we can’t get caught up in that,” he told the Tribune-Herald in November. “We have to stay focused on what we have the responsibility to do.”

Baylor officials also pointed to Ramsower’s financial backing of the Title IX office as evidence of his support for Crawford and her staff.

High-level donors, including John Eddie Williams and Nell Hawkins, have publicly wondered why Ramsower’s job was spared within the scandal.

In a December lawsuit, Briles accused Ramsower and other top officials of making false statements about him to the media. Briles later dropped the lawsuit, which included Ramsower as a defendant. Colin Shillinglaw, the former director of football operations, later accused Ramsower and others of the same, but his claims were dismissed.

Ramsower earned his bachelor’s degree in 1974 and master’s degree two years later, both at Baylor. He began teaching at Baylor’s business school in 1983 and later became an administrator before becoming a vice president in 2000.

Ramsower, whose family attended Baylor since his ancestor Ethel Lattimore Higginbotham was among the first class of women who were allowed to get bachelor’s degrees like the men, was the target of faculty criticism in 2008 when he approved a program that offered incoming freshmen $300 in bookstore credit for retaking the SAT.

Any student who raised their score by at least 50 points earned $1,000 a year in merit scholarship aid. The program was seen as a scheme to increase the average SAT score of incoming students and improve Baylor’s position in college rankings.

Ramsower helped lead a period of considerable growth at Baylor, when enrollment boosted and the physical campus expanded. He served under presidents Robert Sloan, John Lilley, Starr and Livingstone, in addition to various interim and acting presidents.

He monitored Baylor’s budget, investments, endowment, undergraduate admissions, information systems, human resources, and facilities, in addition to campus safety and visionary planning.

Ramsower has also been Baylor’s emissary to local efforts for downtown growth through his involvement with Waco Downtown Development Corporation, later renamed City Center Waco.

“He has played an integral role in Baylor’s growth in many areas over the past decade as the campus expanded significantly in terms of both population, physical space and buildings, as well as in increasing Baylor’s engagement with the Waco community,” Livingstone said.

Phillip has covered higher education for the Tribune-Herald since November 2015.

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