The Baylor Line Foundation on Monday questioned the decision of Baylor regents to speak publicly about the sexual assault scandal that has rocked the university for over a year.
“Some members of the Board of Regents have given media interviews that seem to be part of a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign to validate their staffing decisions rather than explaining what happened directly to the Baylor Family,” the statement said.
“This appears to be a change in philosophy from Interim President David Garland’s promise that the university was committed to ‘protecting any details that may compromise the privacy’ of the survivors and the innocent,” the statement said. “The Baylor Line Foundation has long believed that a full accounting must be given directly to the Baylor family, not just selected news media (no matter how credible they might be). We agree that the privacy of those who have filed complaints must be protected, but there are many unanswered questions that have nothing to do with the primary goal of protecting the survivors.”
Seventeen women reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 Baylor football players, regents told The Wall Street Journal for a story published Friday. The reports made between 2011 and 2015 included four gang rapes.
Baylor regents Chairman Ron Murff and Regent J. Cary Gray were quoted in the story.
“There was a cultural issue there that was putting winning football games above everything else, including our values,” Gray told the newspaper. “We did not have a caring community when it came to these women who reported that they were assaulted. And that is not OK.”
The statement criticized the timing of The Wall Street Journal story, a day before a Baylor football game against the University of Texas. The Baylor Line Foundation, formerly the Baylor Alumni Association, incorrectly stated that “some regents chose to disclose details about the numbers of sexual assault complaints and the number of football team members accused just hours before a key road game.” The regents spoke with The Wall Street Journal more than a week before The Journal released the story Friday.
“Certainly we would have preferred different timing, but these outlets were pursuing stories on their own timetables,” a university statement said in response to the foundation’s statement.
‘Last to know’
Shortly before his firing, Briles told regents he was “the last to know” of assaults by his players, Gray told The Journal.
Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP found “fundamental failure” in the school’s implementation of Title IX and a football program operating “above the rules,” regents reported May 26. The law firm conducted a nine-month investigation of Baylor’s institutional response to sexual assault allegations.
“It was the weight of the facts we heard, it was the weight of the stories of the investigation and the survivors and the difficulties and how we had let them down and how we could have done better and should have done better,” Murff told the Tribune-Herald in July.
“In the interest of transparency and credibility for Baylor University, especially in relation to the terminations of key leadership, details about the actions of our Board of Regents — actions that Pepper Hamilton clearly had issues with — must be made public,” the Baylor Line Foundation statement said. “The Baylor Line Foundation renews its call for Baylor to return to the timeless Christian values fundamental to the university since its founding in 1845.”
The Baylor Line Foundation changed its name from the Baylor Alumni Association in March after a lengthy legal battle with the university.
As part of a settlement, the foundation has three voting members on the board of regents, publishes an alumni magazine with editorial independence and provides scholarship money.