Baylor University removes Ken Starr as its president, fires football coach over sexual assault report
WACO, Texas (AP) — Outgoing Baylor University President Ken Starr has apologized to victims of sexual violence who were not treated with the care, concern and support they deserve.
Starr issued a statement to the Waco Tribune-Herald after the university announced Thursday that it was demoting him and firing football coach Art Briles. Starr will vacate the presidency on May 31 and stay on as chancellor.
The moves followed a review that found that under Starr’s leadership, the school did little to respond to accusations of sexual assault involving members of its football program.
Starr insisted Thursday that he didn’t know of the problems until fall 2015, and then immediately launched investigations.
Starr applauded Baylor regents for releasing a report that said administrators discouraged students from reporting or participating in student conduct reviews of sexual assault complaints.
The U.S. Department of Education says it’s aware of Baylor University’s announcement that it did not meet federal requirements in dealing with sexual assault cases and “will not hesitate to investigate if necessary.”
Spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said Thursday that all students should be protected from sexual violence or sexual harassment on campus.
Baylor is not currently under investigation under Title IX for a sexual violence case.
The university earlier Thursday released the findings of an investigation it ordered into its handling of sexual assault cases. The review found administrators mishandled cases and in one instance retaliated against a victim reporting an assault. The review made recommendations for how Baylor could improve its compliance with federal law.
A woman who was raped by a Baylor football player when she was a student there says she agrees with the school’s dismissal of Ken Starr as its president.
Jasmin Hernandez told The Associated Press on Thursday that she was surprised that the Texas school fired its successful football coach, Art Briles, because she thinks Baylor has allowed the team’s priorities to outweigh the health and safety of its students.
She says she’s concerned most with the propagation of rape culture at the Waco, Texas, school.
Hernandez, of Yorba Linda, California, says she is pressing on with her federal lawsuit against the school.
Hernandez testified that she was raped by football player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.