By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer
Baylor’s first full-time Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, has resigned. Baylor released a statement late Monday night announcing her resignation.
The statement attributed her resignation to the response to the recommendations from the Pepper Hamilton report.
“Our understanding is that Patty was disappointed in her role in implementing the recommendations that resulted from the Pepper Hamilton investigation,” the statement announcing her resignation said. “The University is grateful for Patty’s leadership in establishing fair and equitable Title IX processes that are also supportive of the needs of survivors.”
The Pepper Hamilton law firm completed their nine-month investigation into Baylor’s previous handling of sexual assault cases. They found that Baylor failed to implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA).
Pepper Hamilton provided Baylor with 105 recommendations (http://www.baylor.edu/rtsv/doc.php/266597.pdf) to improve their handling of sexual assault cases.
In response to the Pepper Hamilton report, The Board of Regents created the full-time position of Chief Compliance Officer. In February, Baylor announced a $5 million expansion plan to the Baylor Title IX Office, the Counseling Center and the Department of Public safety (http://baylorlariat.com/2016/03/22/baylor-announces-title-ix-expansion/). The expansion plan designed was to “prevent acts of sexual violence on campus and to improve treatment and services for all those impacted by interpersonal violence,” according to a statement released by the board on Feb. 12.
Crawford took on the role of Title IX Coordinator in Nov. 2014, becoming Baylor’s first full-time Title IX Coordinator.
“Her primary role is to oversee the investigation and resolution of all sex discrimination matters involving sexual violence, including sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, as well as coordinate the University’s Title IX training and outreach in this issue area,” Baylor’s Title IX website says on the About Us page.
KWTX reported that Crawford’s resignation came after a day of mediation Monday. They reported that Crawford initially settled with Baylor but then rejected the $1.5 million settlement and resigned at the offer of an extra $50,000 for a confidentiality agreement. Crawford’s attorney alleged counter offered $2 million but Baylor rejected the offer.
KWTX reported that Crawford told Baylor she plans to talk about her frustration with the Baylor administration and board of regents and the way they handled the sexual assault investigation.
KWTX reported that they obtained a secretly recorded audio tape of a meeting between Crawford and members of the athletic staff in late July.
“[Crawford] told the group she had begun to refuse to share names of those involved in Title IX investigations with Baylor administrators, fearful that the officials might take action before those involved in the investigations receive due process,” KWTX reported.
“‘I said this has to be very clear that at this point, no one is going to know, other than our office, who these people are, what their names are, where this is going,” KWTX quotes Crawford saying. “Because there have been occasions where I’ve been called on my cellphone on a Sunday morning by a board member wanting names.”
KWTX also reported that Crawford said she, “felt like the football team had been unfairly targeted, noting just two football players have been convicted of sexual assault during Briles’ tenure at Baylor.”
“A very small percentage of our cases have anything to do with athletics”, KWTX quotes Crawford saying. “And I’ve made that very clear to our leadership. This is not an athletics issue in the sense of violence and all these things, this is a human issue.”
On “CBS This Morning” this morning, Crawford talked about her resignation. She claimed Baylor “set me up from the beginning.”
The Waco Tribune Herald reported a statement from University Spokesperson Tonya Lewis saying Baylor is, “surprised by the action taken by Patty Crawford given her public comments about the strong support she felt from across the university.”
In an August interview with the Waco Tribune Herald, Crawford said that the university had an “excellent board that listens and is very supportive,” and that she had a “good partnership” with the athletics department.
Crawford was asked about this interview on “CBS This Morning” and she acknowledged good members of the board and good leaders at Baylor but also said “a group of seniors that made sure that they were protecting the brand… instead of our students.”
Crawford claimed that she increased reports of sexual assault by over 700 percent during her time at Baylor, but that it became clear to her that that was not what Baylor wanted.
“I continued to work hard and the harder I worked, the more resistance I received from senior leadership. That became clear that that was not something the university wanted and in July, I made it clear and ready that I had concerns and that the university was violating Title IX and my environment got worse,” Crawford said.
Crawford said that she filed a federal complaint to the Office of Civil Rights and human resources last week.
“Was I going to remain part of the problem or be part of the problem or was I going to resign?” Crawford said.
Crawford alleges Baylor did not allow her to fulfill her job as Title XI coordinator and retaliated against her.
“I never had the authority, the resources, or the independence to do the job appropriately, which the Department of Education writes in its guidance for Title IX coordinators in universities,” Crawford said.
Crawford claimed she was disconnected from meetings and conversations and that Baylor was, “making decisions only a Title IX coordinator should make, based on protection for the brand.”
Crawford’s attorney, Rogge Dunn joined her on “CBS This Morning” and defended her request for a million dollars, a book and movie rights. He also accused Baylor of violating Texas Law by disclosing information about the mediation.
“There was a mediation and Texas law is quite clear that you cannot comment on what took place at the mediation,” Dunn said, “In a desperate attempt to smear Patty, what they’ve done is violated Texas law. Believe me, there’s nothing I would rather tell you than what went on in that mediation because it’s in favor of Patty, but the law says that you can’t do that and we choose to follow the law, unlike Baylor University.”
Crawford’s resignation came after two women were added to the Title IX lawsuit against Baylor, making it a total of eight plaintiffs.
On June 15, three former Baylor students filed a Title IX lawsuit citing that Baylor, “failed to take immediate, effective remedial steps to resolve the complaints of sexual harassment, and instead acted with deliberate indifference towards plaintiffs.”
Three more plaintiffs joined the lawsuit on June 28. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit cite instances of sexual assault on and off Baylor’s campus from 2004-2015.
The lawsuit alleges that plaintiff number 7 was raped by two Baylor students in 2009 and that plaintiff number 8 was sexually assaulted by a Baylor student in 2015.
“We will always seek to continuously improve and are confident that the very capable Title IX staff will continue the important work of educating, supporting and responding to the needs of those impacted by interpersonal violence,” Baylor’s statement announcing Crawford’s resignation concluded.
Baylor is implementing the 105 recommendations, 76 of which have been completed or are ongoing Tonya Lewis, assistant director of Baylor Media Communications said in Aug.
Baylor’s Interim President David Garland sent an email to Baylor faculty, staff and students at 5:22 p.m. last night assuring students that the Title IX office is qualified and able to handle reports of sexual assault.
“The University has invested substantial resources to expand and support the Title IX Office and will continue to do so,” Garland wrote. “The staff are equipped and fully available to assist those who make the brave decision to report an incident of sexual violence. Despite this recent personnel change, the office continues to have a capable, professional team to do its work.”
Garland was named interim president on May 26 after Baylor fired former President Ken Starr in response to the Pepper Hamilton report (http://baylorlariat.com/2016/05/26/baylor-head-football-coach-art-briles-fired/).
“We recognize our responsibility is to seek to prevent sexual assault and to respond with professional care for those who have been affected by it,” Garland wrote in the email. “I want you to be assured that our commitment remains resolute as we strive to cultivate a Christian community of care and respect for others.”
Edited at 3:30 p.m. 10/05/16 after CBS report.