In the wake of how Baylor University responded to sexual assaults on campus, the university hired the outside law firm Pepper Hamilton in August 2015 to investigate policies, cases and internal school communication. The firm’s report, which was released online Thursdays, found evidence that the school and the athletics department created a “cultural perception that football was above the rules.” Because of these findings, Baylor officials fired head football coach Art Briles and put its athletics director, Ian McCaw, on indefinite probation.
We present six key findings in the Pepper-Hamilton report released by Baylor this morning:
Baylor administrators encouraged victims to not report complaints
“Pepper (Hamilton) also found examples of actions by University administrators that directly discouraged complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes, or that contributed to or accommodated a hostile environment. In one instance, those actions constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
Football program “was above the rules”
“Leadership challenges and communications issues hindered enforcement of rules and policies, and created a cultural perception that football was above the rules.”
Athletics failed to report alleged sexual assaults to school admins
“In certain instances, including reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, athletics and football personnel affirmatively chose not to report sexual violence and dating violence to an appropriate administrator outside of athletics. In those instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct.”
Football staff conducted own inquiries, discredited complainants
“Football staff conducted their own untrained internal inquiries, outside of policy, which improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation, interim measures or processes promised under University policy.”
Football staff diverted cases from criminal processes
“Football coaches and staff took affirmative steps to maintain internal control over discipline of players and to actively divert cases from the student conduct or criminal processes.”
Potential transfers were not properly vetted by school
Baylor did not consistently conduct due diligence with respect to potential transfers. In at least one identified instance, the process reflected a failure to conduct appropriate due diligence and assessment of risk regarding past criminal or student conduct and an affirmative decision not to seek additional information about an athlete’s prior criminal or student conduct records.