WACO, Texas (KWTX) Investigators from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights are due on the Baylor campus next week as the department moves forward with a review of sexual violence issues at the school that was launched in response to a complaint from the school’s former Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, who says she thinks the school set her up to fail.
In October 2016 Baylor was added to the list of schools that have pending Title IX sexual violence investigations by the department’s Office for Civil Rights, but the Education Department’s press secretary, Dorie Turner Nolt, said at the time that opening a complaint for investigation doesn’t mean the office has made a determination about the merits of the case.
Since the investigation was opened, the university “has been working collaboratively with OCR to provide timely and responsible information about our policies, procedures and practices,” interim Baylor President Dr. David Garland said in an email to students, staff and faculty Thursday.
“The next step in the process provides an opportunity for interested students, faculty and staff to meet directly with OCR representatives to share their experiences and perspective regarding Baylor’s efforts to prevent and address sex- and gender-based harassment and violence,” he said.
Representatives of the Office of Civil Rights will be available from 9 a.m. to noon next Thursday in the school’s Student Union Building to meet individually with students, faculty and staff, the email said.
Participation, Garland said in the email, “is both voluntary and confidential” and no media or university employees will be present during the one-on-one meetings.
Crawford filed the complaint on Sept. 26, 2016 before she resigned.
The complaint alleges the school violated Title IX and retaliated against Crawford for trying to get Baylor to comply with the law, he said.
Crawford resigned on Oct. 3, 2016 after daylong mediation of a civil rights complaint she filed against the school.
Crawford said she went to work determined to ferret out the problems and within a short time had increased the number of reports generated by the Title IX office by 700 percent.
But after that effort, "it became clear that that was not something the university wanted," she said last fall.
She told CBS interviewers that her work environment worsened after she documented last July that Baylor was violating parts of Title IX.
She went on to say a group of senior leaders prevented her from doing her job and instead made sure "they were protecting the brand rather than our students.”
Title IX, which is part of a more than 40-year-old law aimed at ensuring equal rights for those participating in educational programs that receive federal financial assistance, applies to all facets of a school's environment.
It has been interpreted to mean that sexual harassment of students including sexual violence interferes with the right to receive an education free from discrimination, and requires schools to take immediate action to end harassment and sexual violence.