Baylor University received a one-year warning from its regional accrediting agency this week, the Chronicle of Higher Education first reported.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges will monitor Baylor’s compliance based on three standards, interim President David Garland said in a Tuesday letter to faculty and staff. Those standards are student support services, control of intercollegiate athletics and institutional environment.
Baylor remains accredited and expects to show full compliance for SACSCOC’s review this time next year, Garland said.
Garland said the accrediting agency has been working with Baylor for several months to “better understand the findings and implications of the Pepper Hamilton review on the status of overall safety and support for students on our campus.”
The news comes amid a sexual assault scandal that led to the firing of Ken Starr as president and Art Briles as head football coach after a nine-month investigation into how Baylor handled sexual assault reports.
Athletic Director Ian McCaw was sanctioned and placed on probation. He resigned days later and now holds the same role at Liberty University.
Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP found “fundamental failure” in Baylor’s Title IX implementation and a football program operating “above the rules,” regents reported in a findings of fact document released May 26. Baylor also released 105 recommendations for improvement from Pepper Hamilton, which have been accepted as mandates.
“We provided SACSCOC with documentation of our procedures, processes and improvements across a wide range of areas,” Garland said. “We also noted that almost all of the shortcomings identified by Pepper Hamilton occurred around past practices, the vast majority of which had already been addressed or would be addressed imminently through the implementation of the recommendations.”
SACSCOC has accredited Baylor since 1914, according to the university’s “institutional effectiveness” website. It is one of six regional accrediting agencies that monitors higher education institutions in 11 states.
Baylor provides evidence of compliance every 10 years, according to its website. A scheduled reaffirmation in the accreditation process had been set for December of next year, but it could be delayed one year as Baylor practices further compliance.