Title IX process continues through Spring Break

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

While students were away for Spring Break, Baylor’s situation regarding Title IX lawsuits and sexual assault scandals continued to unfold.

Officials from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights paid Baylor a visit.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights visited Baylor on Thursday and Friday as part of an investigation into a complaint filed by former Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford.

According to Lori Fogleman, Baylor’s Assistant Vice President for Media Communications, the Title IX Office’s office hours were for students, faculty and staff to meet directly with the Office of Civil Rights representatives to share their experiences regarding Baylor’s efforts to prevent and address sex and gender-based harassment and violence.

“The visit was a normal step in OCR’s process,” Fogleman said. “There was no new information or investigation.”

“The university remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community,” Fogleman said. “We continue to outline the unprecedented actions that Baylor has taken in response to the issue of sexual assaults involving our campus community.”

Blanchard’s attorney fought back against suspension.

Michelle Tuegel, the attorney for suspended Baylor defensive back Travon Blanchard, is questioning the claims of the woman who filed a protective order against Blanchard.

Last month, Blanchard was suspended from all athletic activities due to a protective order filed against him from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the affidavit, Blanchard became upset at a restaurant after a waiter asked if he and the woman knew each other. The affidavit reported that Blanchard was verbally abusive toward the female and grabbed her when she tried to leave, injuring her finger to the point where it could not be stitched.

Tuegel released a police report on Tuesday that she said conflicts with this account.

According to the police event report filed after the incident, the woman told an officer that she and Blanchard argued about a woman contacting him. Blanchard took her car keys and walked away.

Blanchard’s account was the same, but he told the officer he did not have the woman’s keys.

After calling her mother for an extra set of keys, the woman said she had a small cut on her pinky finger from Blanchard taking away her keys.

The Baylor Athletics Department released the following statement in response to the order against Blanchard.

“The Baylor Athletics Department is aware of a complaint made against Travon Blanchard through the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office. Immediately upon notification on Feb. 7, the appropriate campus student-conduct process was initiated, and Blanchard was suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities, pending the outcome of the investigation,” the statement said.

A new law could make Baylor Regents hold open meetings.

The Texas Senate Committee on Higher Education is considering a bill that would require Baylor University and one other private university to hold meetings that are open to the public.

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the bill was written by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and would require private universities receiving $5 million or more in state tuition equalization grants to hold themselves to the same open meeting standards as public institutions’ governing boards.

The bill also says that boards would have to publish governing documents on a website, including bylaws, codes of conduct, confidentiality agreements, conflict of interest policies or operating procedures.

Fort Worth senior Caroline Grace, a member of the Title IX’s Student Advisory Council, said the bill seems like it stresses transparency and accountability.

“Coaches hold press conferences, the Board of Regents should too,” Grace said.