Because I desperately want to believe it, I’ve been telling myself that the Baylor University Board of Regents loves Baylor. Probably they do. But their estimation of a Baylor education borders on contempt because they clearly think a Baylor education left many alumni incapable of basic reasoning.
Last year, the regents hired a law firm to investigate the university’s handling of cases of alleged sexual violence and hailed the firm as an independent investigator. This Philadelphia law firm charged Baylor an estimated $5 million for several months’ work. Regents claimed these lawyers would review Baylor’s institutional response to Title IX compliance issues. Since regents are at the top of the institutional leadership chain, this investigation would ostensibly include a review of what role regents played in this tragedy.
So when the law firm’s fact-gathering was complete, what did regents do? They instructed the firm, which reports solely to regents and has duties of loyalty and confidentiality only to it, not to issue a written report. Instead regents literally wrote the law firm’s conclusions for them. You almost can’t make this up.
Naturally, those conclusions written up by regents don’t mention any regent culpability. They contain no facts. Not a single fact. Others were blamed and fired for colossal institutional failures. Careers and good names were ruined.
And when educated, rational Baylor alumni ask for the facts that underlie this so-called independent investigation, they’re told no. When a chorus of alumni asks for an investigation not controlled by the subjects of the investigation, regents say no. They even conduct their own inquiry of their own prior investigation. They go into a room alone, review a report that supposedly does not exist, come out and declare with no facts that the investigation was true to the task assigned. A “united” board of regents even declares in a press release that alumni concerns about this are unreasonable and have no basis in fact. And of course regents tell us again that they’re not to blame for any aspect of this 100-year flood of a crisis. They tell the Baylor family — alumni, faculty and students — that we just need to trust them.
Now we have a recent report in the Trib showing a Bears for Leadership Reform study estimating the cost and lost revenue to Baylor from this sexual-assault scandal may well climb to $223 million. And what does the Baylor family get from regents in response? Nothing. Not a single regent stepped forward to answer anyone’s questions.
This is a sham. This is the definition of a farce. It’s the greatest insult to a Baylor education that I can imagine — regents actually deceiving themselves into believing any rational Baylor alumnus would ever find this in any way acceptable. That’s why I’m signing on with and supporting Bears for Leadership Reform.
Local civic leader Nell Hawkins and husband Jim have donated $3.5 million for the Jim and Nell Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center and were key contributors to the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. Basketball Practice Facility. She founded the Martin Museum Art Angels and is a member of the Waco Mammoth Foundation. She is co-founder of Baylor “Gold Rush” and a Baylor Alumna by Choice. She has served on the board of directors of Cameron Park Zoological Association; as advisory board member of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing; and as a board member of the Brazos Valley Public Broadcasting Foundation.