The nation has looked upon Baylor during the recent Title IX controversy. The reaction I’ve heard most frequently is, “they just don’t get it, do they?” People affiliated with our community publish full-page ads supporting [former president and chancellor Ken] Starr for “exceptional care for students and their well-being.” I see startling displays of disagreement with [former head coach Art] Briles’ and Starr’s firing on Facebook and in person, and Kendal Briles and many of the offending staff members continue to work for the team. Baylor does not understand sexual assault. This is a Christian issue. This is a safety issue. But Baylor still seeks to pretend it doesn’t exist. Like Rice’s editor-in-chief Yasna Haghdoost stated, “But when, pray tell, will there be an ‘appropriate time’ to discuss the violent abuse of human dignity?”
The MOB provided the bold, strong, unforgiving message the Lariat asked for in the editorial: the message Baylor itself hasn’t been able to make. Their staff should be thanking Rice for putting into action everything for which the paper has been asking. But, while begging for “no more cover-ups,” a “bolder” conversation and “no more tiptoeing around the issue and excusing actions for some while condemning others,” the Lariat condemns Rice for initiating a bold conversation, defying the cover-ups and strongly stomping on the issue. As Yasna said, “The MOB didn’t trivialize Title IX. Baylor University trivialized Title IX when it decided to prioritize its athletic reputation over the dignity and deserved justice of sexual assault survivors.”
While the Lariat has done great work on the topics of reproductive health and sexual assault, in the case of this editorial, they are continuing Baylor’s trend of misunderstanding, ignoring and under-prioritizing sexual assault and especially its survivors.
Until Baylor recognizes this sexual assault problem and deals with reproductive health and sick social norms in a real way instead of ignoring sex altogether, Baylor students, and leadership will continue to be “complicit in acts of violence through our well-meaning efforts to remain neutral or conciliatory.” Yasna Haghdoost, a survivor of sexual assault, understands what’s happening here. I guess today the Lariat will prolong Baylor’s suffering.
Michael Incavo, Spring senior