WACO - The U.S. Department of Education announced it has added Baylor to a list of higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.
Baylor was added to the list of institutions that have pending Title IX sexual violence investigations by the Department of Education’s office for Civil Rights.
The university has been under fire for its mishandling of sexual assault accusations. In early October, Patty Crawford, Baylor's Title IX Coordinator resigned. Crawford was hired by Baylor in November 2014.
Patty Crawford's attorney Rogge Dunn released a response to the U.S. ED Title IX investigation agaisnt Baylor over a complaint received by the former Title IX coordinator:
On September 26, 2016, before she resigned Patty filed a complaint against Baylor with the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) in the Department of Education for violating Title IX and for retaliating against her trying to get Baylor to comply with Title IX.
Last week Patty interviewed with the OCR’s Investigator.
It is significant that the Dept. of Education opened a formal investigation, which indicates that the Office of Civil Rights found Patty's complaints credible and that Patty’s Title IX complaint warranted further investigation.
In all the other cases involving people in the know/on the inside: Starr, McCaw, Briles etc, Baylor has bought the participants’ silence. Patty is the first person to refuse Baylor’s confidentiality agreement and step forward to expose what happened.
--Rogge Dunn, attorney representing Patty Crawford
Dorie Nolt, U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary released the following statement:
The Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into issues related to Title IX sexual violence at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. OCR opened the investigation after receiving a complaint from the former Baylor Title IX coordinator. Consistent with federal privacy statutes, OCR typically does not identify the specific parties, including complainants, involved in our civil rights cases. In this instance, the complainant has given permission for OCR to identify her and has spoken publicly about her complaint.
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) stated the investigation in no way implies the office has made a determination on the merits of the case. Rather, the office is a neutral fact-finder.
Tonya Lewis, Baylor's Director of Media Communications, issued a statement Wednesday night.
“Today (Wednesday) I sent a letter to the U. S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights pledging Baylor University’s full cooperation with their Title IX review. Over the past year, Baylor has undergone a comprehensive assessment of its response to sexual violence resulting in the adoption of 105 recommendations for improvement. Within five months, we have completed or made significant progress on more than 90 percent of these recommendations. Should the OCR identify additional areas of improvement, we will work on those immediately. We are whole-heartedly committed to cultivating a safe and supportive environment for all members of the Baylor community.”
OCR will collect and analyze all relevant evidence to develop its findings. The department will not disclose any case specific facts or details about the institutions under investigation.
Once the case has been resolved, OCR will contact the institution, the complainant and public.
(© 2017 KCEN)