David Garland spent his last day as interim president of Baylor University telling a Waco attorney he does not know why the school was investigated for its institutional responses to sexual violence, nor was he curious to learn, according to a deposition filed in a Title IX lawsuit against Baylor.
Garland also said he was unaware of why Ken Starr was removed as president in May 2016 and said he did not know how much money former head football coach Art Briles received in a mediation session after Briles’ firing last year.
“It was troubling to me that (Garland) was willfully ignorant,” said Jim Dunnam, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of 10 alleged sexual assault victims, in an interview Thursday. “Not only did he not know, he didn’t care to know, made no effort to know, didn’t want to know. That’s disturbing, particularly when you have a university that claims it takes these matters seriously.”
Dunnam questioned Garland on May 31 in the ALICO building in downtown Waco. Garland said newspaper articles and Starr’s book, “Bear Country: The Baylor Story,” provide the only information he knows regarding Starr’s firing.
Garland also said former Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak, who retired in 2014, discouraged rape victims from reporting the incidents.
In his year as interim president, Garland cited three meetings he held with three victims of sexual assault at Baylor. He repeatedly said he was named interim president to implement 105 recommendations from Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, which conducted the investigation from September 2015 to May 2016.
Garland, a longtime professor and dean of Baylor’s Truett Theological Seminary, was on sabbatical in Colorado when regents announced “fundamental failure” in Baylor’s implementation of Title IX. He became interim president on June 1, 2016.
Garland disagreed with the notion of “fundamental failure” of Baylor’s Title IX implementation, rather saying Baylor handled such cases inconsistently.
Garland said he did not know who drafted the 13-page “findings of fact” document regents released in May 2016, or who was responsible for verifying that the failures noted were indeed accurate.
When asked about the liability of Baylor regents, Garland said God ultimately holds them accountable.
“Fortunately, in my understanding of faith, God works through people,” Dunnam said. “The jury in the United States is made of people.”
A university statement on Thursday noted the deposition was conducted by the plaintiff and that Baylor did not ask questions nor present its case over the five-hour questioning.
“Dr. Garland was not in the interim president role during the Pepper Hamilton investigation, nor was he on campus as he was dealing with the illness and loss of his beloved wife,” the statement said. “Dr. Garland was still in Colorado in May 2016 when the Board of Regents made decisions regarding changes in university leadership, at which time he was subsequently asked to return to Baylor and serve as interim president.”
The statement said he charged more than 80 faculty and staff members with implementing the recommendations.
Baylor regents fired Starr, Briles and two athletics department staffers in May 2016 amid the scandal. Athletics Director Ian McCaw was sanctioned, but he resigned days later.
Dunnam asked Garland at least 13 times if Garland was interested in learning which administrators discouraged rape victims from reporting the incidents. Garland repeatedly said he did not know who else it could possibly be, and at one point said he has not been concerned about the issue.
Garland said he and members of the Baylor’s executive council heard an oral presentation from the investigating attorneys shortly after he became interim president. Garland left the briefing after 2½ hours to attend Big 12 Conference meetings in Dallas, he said. He also said that former regents heard Pepper Hamilton’s presentation, which Dunnam argues is a waiver of attorney-client privilege.
Garland, who will return as a professor next year, said he is unfamiliar with the allegations of Dunnam’s 10 clients, which have been described in public documents and media reports. He is now in Colorado on sabbatical.
A key figure in Baylor’s scandal is Patty Crawford, the Title IX coordinator who resigned in October, saying she did not receive the support, resources and independence to do her job. Baylor officials disputed her public accounting.
In interviews with “60 Minutes Sports,” Crawford and several Baylor officials, including Garland, recounted details of the scandal. According to the deposition, Garland did not watch the October segment.
In the segment, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Reagan Ramsower said Doak and “some of the other folks” who mishandled Baylor police reports are no longer employed by the university. Doak did not respond to a voicemail on Thursday.
Garland said in his deposition he has “no idea” how long Ramsower has been employed at Baylor and did not recall Ramsower’s title.
Ramsower has worked for Baylor since 1983, starting as a faculty member who worked his way up to the executive council in 2004.
Dunnam also prodded Garland on Baylor’s relationship with G.F. Bunting + Co., a public relations firm that worked with Baylor. Garland said he did not know how much Baylor paid the firm, nor was he involved in the firm’s hiring.
Garland said G.F. Bunting + Co. was hired because Baylor’s longtime public relations firm, Ketchum, withdrew.
Garland also revealed that a “skeleton” of his May 27 Tribune-Herald guest column outlining Baylor’s commitment to sexual violence prevention was placed on his desk by Baylor spokesman Jason Cook, who is Baylor’s vice president for marketing and communications, and Garland then edited it.
Garland said pornography was a “contributing factor” to the cultural problems Baylor faced and that a program is available for students with such addictions. “Masculinity programs” Garland described to the Tribune-Herald one year ago have not been implemented, according to his deposition.
Baylor structurally completed the 105 recommendations, the university announced after a board of regents meeting last month. When asked whether the recommendations were complete, Garland said he thought Baylor committed a good-faith effort to completing them.
The questioning became heated, according to the transcript, when Dunnam repeatedly asked Garland whether Baylor’s self- described pattern of failing to implement Title IX would increase the risk to female students.
Lisa Brown, an Austin attorney working on Baylor’s behalf, objected to the questions.
“You must take these things seriously and address them as best you can,” Garland said.
On Thursday, Dunnam said Garland’s lack of knowledge of the scandal is “staggering.”
“This guy is willfully ignorant of everything,” he said. “Who is running Baylor University? That’s part of the central issue in our case. Who did make these policy decisions? He doesn’t want to know who it was. It’s inexcusable.”
Garland also said he was unaware of a weeklong investigation conducted by Baylor law professor Jeremy Counseller before Pepper Hamilton was hired. Counseller’s investigation into allegations of sexual violence surrounding Baylor’s football team resulted in the recommendation to hire an outside firm to investigate, the university announced in August 2015.
Baylor faces six Title IX lawsuits and pending investigations by the NCAA, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the Texas Rangers.
Garland said Baylor General Counsel Chris Holmes and Vice President for Operations and Facilities Brian Nicholson are the primary contacts with the Texas Rangers.
The Department of Education is also investigating the university’s campus crime reporting.
Baylor regents told the Wall Street Journal in October that 17 women have reported sexual or domestic assaults against 19 football players since 2011. One lawsuit alleged 52 “acts of rape” by 31 football players under Briles’ eight seasons and an unofficial policy of women being expected to have sex with football recruits visiting campus.