• Arizona Daily Star applauds Baylor Title IX efforts as part of national series

    Looking up past the towers of Burleson Quadrangle to the sky

    Last month — just in time for Sexual Assault Awareness Month — the Arizona Daily Star ran a lengthy feature on Baylor’s revamped Title IX efforts. The feature was one part of a six-part series on how universities nationwide are working to better develop their Title IX programs.

    In researching the piece, Daily Star investigative and Title IX reporter Caitlin Schmidt traveled to Waco to spend time on campus and speak to people across the university. Her conclusion?

    “Baylor has become a leader when it comes to enforcing Title IX, a federal law that aims to protect students from discrimination, including gender violence,” she wrote. “The university has spent $4.3 million to beef up its Title IX office and staff, hiring dedicated training and prevention coordinators. The university has grown its Title IX office, which is less than a mile from the main campus and athletic facilities. … Baylor’s new leaders are making Title IX enforcement a priority.”

    In a Daily Star podcast, Schmidt expanded on what she sees at Baylor. “Nobody in that administration is by any means trying to push these things under a rug or make anybody forget that this happened. But their present is very different from their past. … It’s not anything anybody on that campus will ever forget, but they also aren’t gonna let it happen again. … They’re not doing this just because of what happened. It’s a built-in commitment of everybody involved with the school.”

    [MORE AUDIO: 1660 ESPN Radio Central Texas || Phoenix NPR]

    At the end of the feature is a summary of how Baylor has worked to improve its Title IX program. Among the recent changes:

    • A $4.3 million investment into the Title IX Office, which included hiring additional staff and increasing the physical space of the office;
    • Additional funds to double the size of the university’s counseling center, so that it now exceeds national recommendations;
    • A new victim advocate within the Baylor Police Department to assist complainants in the reporting and investigation process;
    • A new, robust Title IX policy which provides amnesty for complainants and witnesses, prohibits retaliation, and outlines confidential resources;
    • Mandatory annual Title IX training for faculty, staff and first-year students;
    • A centralized reporting system, an online anonymous reporting tool, and 24-hour access to crisis support;
    • A central compliance office and chief compliance officer to oversee compliance obligations across campus;
    • New athletic department policies regarding student-athlete misconduct reporting and drug testing, reminding students its a “privilege to play”; and
    • New student-athlete transfer and recruitment policies.

    Schmidt’s comments echo what we’ve already heard from the Big 12 Conference, Big 12 board chair Gordon Gee, and outside experts who have thoroughly reviewed Baylor’s improvements and come out with positive findings. As a Baylor grad, I’m proud that we can once again take pride in our university’s efforts to care for all our students in such ways.

    Sic ’em, Baylor Title IX office!

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