Just hours prior to the airing of a “60 Minutes” special on the Baylor University sexual assault scandal on Tuesday, Interim President David Garland announced the launch of the university’s “The Truth” website with hopes of providing transparency and details about the scandal.
The “60 Minutes” special, which aired Tuesday night, interviewed former Baylor Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford and current Senior Vice President for Operations and Chief Financial Officer Reagan Ramsower, who was Crawford’s direct superior during her time at Baylor.
Included on the “The Truth” website was a letter addressed to Baylor alumni and students in which Garland announced that he “directed the university to be more transparent wherever possible about the sexual assault crisis that has severely impacted our campus, our alumni and the entire Baylor family.” He also addressed questions surrounding the Pepper Hamilton report, stating that no written report of the findings of their investigation exists.
The open letter and the launch of the website came just hours before the release of a “60 Minutes” special on Baylor’s recent sexual assault scandal, in which Crawford, who resigned Oct. 3, claimed that the university set her up to fail in the role.
The original website launch included Interim President David Garland’s full letter, as well as different sections outlining Baylor’s history in its handlings of sexual assault, its commitment to Title IX and to victims of sexual assault as well as a set of articles that the university claims it feels will help shed light on their decisions and actions.
After the release of the “60 Minutes” special, the website was updated the following morning to include links to letter correspondence between CBS and Baylor University regarding the special and publication rights, as well as a “60 Minutes Fact Check” sheet and a detailed timeline of Patty Crawford’s time as Baylor’s Title IX Coordinator.
In the letter from CBS to Baylor University, CBS claimed that Baylor filmed the interviews used in the special without “60 Minutes’’ knowledge or agreement. Baylor promptly responded to the letter in disagreement, claiming that, while their in-house team did record the interviews, “Baylor’s camera equipment was openly set up in the same room in which the interviews occurred, and Baylor’s representative clearly communicated to the “60 Minutes” producer that the university was filming these interviews.”
In the “60 Minutes” special, Crawford claimed she was unable to do her job due to the discrimination and lack of support that she faced from the university, holding some of Baylor’s top officials, including the Board of Regents, responsible for this failure.
“There were a lot of people like me at the university that did not want these things happening and were fighting for it, but they didn’t have the power or the authority, and they were not heard,” Crawford said. “That is institutional. What drives a culture? It’s the top.”
The university denied Crawford’s claims that she was not supported during her time as Baylor’s Title IX coordinator. The website’s detailed “Patty Crawford Timeline,” released after the “60 Minutes” special was aired, outlines the extent of Crawford’s salary increases and extended Title IX funding, the resignation of three Title IX investigators as a result of difficulties working with Crawford, and several correspondences between Crawford and university officials regarding support she received.
Former president Ken Starr told The Lariat in a Q&A last week that he believed the university made efforts to support Crawford during her time as its Title IX coordinator.
“The honest answer is that I love Patty Crawford. I have great respect for her,” Starr said. “I do have a different perspective with respect to the support that she enjoyed during my tenure. And my perspective is we tried to do everything we possibly could to support Patty professionally and personally, and to provide her with the tools that she needed to carry on her very important and sensitive job.”
In Garland’s letter, he encouraged frequent visitation to the website as the university strives to keep the Baylor community informed. The addition of the “60 Minutes” rebuttals and extra links to outside articles that the university believes best sheds light on its actions are the only changes that have been made to the website since its launch.
“There will be more information to come in the next few days and weeks,” Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media communications, told the Lariat.