Baylor University is not commenting on the recent firing of President and Chancellor Kenneth Starr, who was ousted by the Board of Regents amidst a sexual assault scandal that involved both the school and the football team. While the University’s website made no mention of Starr’s job status as of Tuesday afternoon, the school did issue a statement on the subject to say that no official decision had been made.
“The Baylor Board of Regents continues to work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation and we anticipate further communication will come after the Board completes its deliberations. We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the University will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.”
The school has been accused of not responding to accusations of rape or sexual assault that had been reported by at least six women students during Starr’s time as president between 2009 and 2016. While the issue of sexual assault is not limited to the football team at the school, at least eight former players have been accused of sexual violence against women within the last eight years, while Coach Art Briles and Athletic Director Ian McCaw continue to see criticism, writes Cindy Boren for The Washington Post.
At the same time, the board is also considering how to handle the findings of a law firm that was hired to take a closer look at how the school handled the allegations of rape and assault on its campus. Jasmin Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the board, as well as Briles and McCaw, in late March. Hernandez argued that the school was “deliberately indifferent” to her after she was allegedly raped by then-football player Tevin Elliot in 2012. The lawsuit states that Hernandez’s mother contacted the school to ask about their mental health services. However, the school had answered that “they were too busy” to see her daughter.
Her mother stated that this happened two more times, at which point academic services allegedly told her that “even if a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.”
Elliot is currently serving a 20-year sentence for raping Hernandez after having been convicted of the crime in January 2014.
The school said it has put $5 million toward efforts to change the way it responds to reports of sexual assault. Plans include the hiring of another investigator as well as additional staff members to the Title IX office at the school.
Prior to Starr’s presidency, he was the special prosecutor who investigated the sexual relationship between President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
In a February statement issued by university, Starr said, “Our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence.” At a prayer breakfast last month, Starr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
“I am in favor of transparency. Stand up, take your medicine if you made a mistake.”