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Progress Continues on Baylor University’s Implementation of Recommendations

Highlights include revised policies and mandatory training; expansion of Title IX, Counseling Center; centralized reporting system; 24-hour crisis hotline; new Report It! website

Baylor University released a statement updating their progress on the Pepper Hamilton recommendations that Interim President David Garland has called "mandates".  Baylor has continued to invest heavily in counseling and Title IX resources, as well as implemented full-scale training for coaches and support staff of all athletic teams. In regards specifically to athletics, Baylor has developed new policies for "student-athlete conduct, incident reporting, drug testing and incoming student-athlete screening". 

These changes and investments are in response to the sexual assault scandal that has marred the University, causing the firing of school President Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles, as well as the resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw. 

The full release can be found below. 

WACO, Texas (Aug. 23, 2016) – Baylor University Interim President David E. Garland today provided a progress report on the implementation of recommendations for improving the University’s response to sexual violence. The recommendations resulted from the University’s external investigation launched last fall.

To help the Baylor community track progress, the University has launched a new webpage – www.baylor.edu/rtsv/progress – that outlines improvements to processes, policies, infrastructure, communication, training, partnerships and response to reports of sexual violence. Since June, Baylor has completed or made significant progress on more than three-fourths of the recommendations made at the conclusion of the independent, external review.

Baylor also has developed a web page called Report It (www.baylor.edu/reportit), which provides resources and a central mechanism for faculty, staff, students and others to report violations of University policy, troubling behavior or criminal activity to the appropriate authorities.

“Through the diligent work of our Task Forces and the dedication of the faculty, staff and students who are serving on our 12 implementation teams, the University has continued to make rapid progress in a wide range of areas,” President Garland said. “We are committed to cultivating a community of care and respect and recognize our responsibility to show leadership in the prevention, response and care for those impacted by sexual violence.”

Over the summer, faculty and staff leaders, administrators and students serving on the Sexual Assault Task Force, which is focused on operational improvements, and the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force, which is guiding and uplifting the campus community to pursue its calling, have been working to implement the recommendations. The task forces are supported by the implementation groupswho share responsibility for identified areas and the holistic well-being of students.

The highlights of progress include:

Counseling Center

  • Baylor’s Counseling Center staff has doubled in size and a physical expansion is underway to bring the Center in line with the best universities in the country.
  • An After-Hours Crisis Hotline (24-hour) is live and fully operational (254-710-2467 or a national hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE).
  • Session limits and co-pays for students using the Counseling Center have been eliminated.

Title IX Infrastructure

  • The staff of Baylor’s Title IX Office has been expanded, and the office is now one of the largest in the Big 12. The Title IX Office also is working on a plan for continuous training for students, faculty and staff and for those in the Title IX Office.
  • Policies and protocols related to Title IX have been revised to clarify amnesty for violations of the University’s sexual conduct and alcohol policies and to implement national best practices.
  • Online mandatory training programs for students, staff and faculty have been updated for Fall 2016 and protocols established for monitoring compliance.
  • A cloud-based software product has been implemented for centralized reporting and unified management of complaints and grievance reports to allow for greater coordination of care and tracking of patterns and trends.

Athletics

  • Following a national search, President Garland announced the appointment of Mack Rhoades as Vice President and Director of Athletics. Rhoades began in this role on Aug. 15, 2016.
  • New policies and protocols for student-athlete conduct, incident reporting, drug testing and incoming student-athlete screening and documentation in accordance with the newly adopted Big 12 Conference serious misconduct policy are complete or nearing completion.
  • Developed thorough, University-designed, mandatory training protocol for all coaches, student-athletes and athletics administrative personnel related to Title IX policies, sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention techniques.

Culture and Climate

  • Development is underway of a sexual assault survey designed to evaluate the effectiveness of campus procedures and identify challenges in the campus climate that affect the educational environment or create barriers to reporting. The survey will be fielded this fall among Baylor students, and results will help shape future awareness, prevention and training initiatives.

 
Community Partnerships

  • The Baylor Counseling Center will add two victim advocates to provide confidential support to Baylor students who experience interpersonal violence. In addition, the University is working with the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco to strengthen their relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding that would provide additional resources and support to victims.
  • The Baylor Police Department is an active participant in the McLennan County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), and a Waco-area Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) has been established and based in the Advocacy Center in Waco.

Public Safety

  • New mandatory in-service training has been established for all Baylor University Police Department (BUPD) personnel. Training covers topics such as Title IX obligations, victim-centered and trauma-informed interpersonal violence investigations, victim-centered interviewing and forensic interviewing for adults and juvenile victims, trauma-informed sexual assault investigation and adjudication.
  • More than 600 employees designated as Campus Security Authorities (CSA) have been identified and trained to reinforce Clery reporting obligations.

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