BU regent dismisses possibility of release of law firm report

(Baylor University photo/file)
(Baylor University photo/file)(KWTX)
Published: Nov. 29, 2016 at 7:43 PM CST
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Baylor Regent Dr. Ron Wilson, who participated in a meeting Tuesday with members of the school’s faculty and staff, said afterward it would take too much time and cost too much money to produce a written version of the scathing Pepper Hamilton review of the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the university’s athletic department.

“Pepper Hamilton is an oral report so the process of writing would take four to six months. Also with the personal nature of the information so much of it would be redacted. Plus, the cost would be a factor,” Wilson said.

The Pepper Hamilton law firm, which the university hired to conduct the independent review, produced a 13-page findings of fact that didn’t identify any specific cases or cite any individuals by name.

The university has rejected repeated calls to release full details of the report, which led to the decision on May 26 to fire head football coach Art Briles, reassign Chancellor and President Ken Starr, and suspend Athletic Director Ian McCaw.

Starr and Briles have since reached settlements with the school and on Monday McCaw was introduced as the new athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The meeting Monday at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative facility in Waco was the first of four scheduled “in an effort to enhance communication” and to “provide additional insight into the university’s response to sexual violence and the implementation of improvements,” according to the Faculty Senate and Staff Council, which is sponsoring the sessions.

The two-hour meeting, attended by several regents and interim Baylor President David Garland, included a question-and-answer session for which questions had to be submitted in advance.

Wilson, said the meeting Tuesday went well, but said nothing new was addressed.

“We didn’t say anything new. Nothing new was brought up that hasn’t already been said in the media and online,” Wilson said.

Baylor staff member Ron English said the group generally understood why more information couldn’t be released from Title IX reports and the Pepper Hamilton review.

“The safety of the students is the most important. They have to be safe and they have to feel safe. With people’s identities and the private nature of some of the content, it’s understandable” English said.

“I think the main thrust of the meeting was giving an opportunity for faculty and staff to ask the regents some very direct questions about what’s happening here. Issues with Title IX, the health and wealth of the university, the supporting of the students, all of these questions were asked,” English said.

“People are just worried about the future. The main question was ‘how can we help?’” English said.

The remaining three meetings will be on Dec. 1, in the Powell Chapel at George W. Truett Seminary, Dec. 6, in Bennett Auditorium and on Dec. 15, at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas, which Executive Vice President and Provost Greg Jones will attend instead of Garland.