Resignation of Baylor's Title IX Officer Should Set Off Alarm Bells in Waco
Former Baylor coach Art Briles, in black baseball cap, watching his team defeat Rice earlier this season.
There are people at Baylor, and associated with Baylor, who believe that the numerous sexual assault allegations levied against the school, especially against the football team, have been blown out of proportion. First and foremost among them are deposed head coach Art Briles and former school president Ken Starr.
Maybe there has been a feeding frenzy that has been focused on the football program, though sexual assault appears to have been a campus-wide problem. And maybe it would be nice if Pepper Hamilton, the firm that conducted this summer’s investigation of the sexual assault allegations against the football program, had released a detailed, annotated report instead of just a summary of findings.
But here’s the thing: When the person hired to run the Baylor Title IX program, which involves investigating sexual assault complaints, resigns and refuses to accept a legal settlement, act like an adult and not like a spoiled child. Especially — and this is kind of important — don't blast this person with being concerned only with holding onto her book and movie rights.
Claiming that she was set up to fail, and that Baylor was doing nothing to investigate her concerns about how it was handling sexual assault allegations, the school's Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, resigned from her job on Monday. Crawford stated that Baylor’s administration attempted to interfere with her investigations while trying to gather the names of those involved in her department’s investigations.
“Baylor is more concerned about its image of a wholesome Baptist environment,” Crawford’s attorney, Rogge Dunn, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines yesterday. “[It] didn't want the negative media fallout that these types of cases naturally generate when they come to light.”
It wasn’t a pretty picture that Crawford painted, claiming that Baylor was more concerned with protecting the school’s brand than it was with protecting female students. Crawford and her attorney claimed to ESPN that Crawford, hired by Baylor in 2014, increased the reporting of sexual assault and sexual violence claims on campus by 700 percent and that she personally handled hundreds of cases. But the harder she pushed, she says, the more pushback she received from the Baylor administrators.
“I continued to work hard, and the harder I worked, the more resistance I received from senior leadership,” Crawford told CBS This Morning yesterday. “That became clear that that was not something the university wanted, and in July, I made it clear and ready that I had concerns and that the university was violating Title IX, and my environment got worse."
Crawford’s resignation followed a mediation session with Baylor’s attorneys on Monday that arose from a claim that Crawford filed stating the school was attempting to retaliate against her over her investigations. It was reported that Crawford turned down a $1.5 million offer from the school to settle her retaliation claim during that mediation session. She further turned down, on top of that, a $50,000 offer to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Baylor’s response to all of this, as with everything else that has happened since the sexual assault allegations against the school started going public, was tone deaf. The school claimed that Crawford requested one million dollars while retaining movie and book rights to defend Baylor’s Title IX response.
“That's nonsense,” Dunn told ESPN. “It's a desperate move by Baylor to try to smear her, and here they violated the law once again.”
There’s a Title IX lawsuit that’s been filed against the school that has been joined by numerous women claiming to be sexual assault victims. But Baylor officials clearly show they don't get what’s going on, nor do they care to understand. There’ve been the boosters (including Drayton McLane) and members of the board scheming to bring back Briles. There’ve been the ovations for Briles while attending Baylor’s football games, and there’s Shawn Oakman just being able to stroll into the locker room and talk to his teammates after a game with the head coach feigning ignorance. Hell, Briles’s assistants, including his son, are still on the Baylor staff.
So parents, maybe it’s up to you to stop this nonsense. There are other Christian universities in this country that are clearly more concerned with adhering to Christian principles. There are hundreds of non-Christian universities that will also show more concern for the health and safety of your daughters. Stop sending your children to this school, and cut down on the money flowing into Baylor. Then maybe Baylor will get the message and start to turn things around.