The allegations made against Baylor University in August 2017 by the school’s former Title IX investigator, Gabrielle Lyons, have been dismissed. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman revealed his final decision on the case and the reasoning behind it: Lyons’ failure to factually support her assertions cost her a ruling that could have ended in her favor.
Lyons had previously claimed Baylor had a pervasive sexist culture and that the school attempted to “protect the Baylor brand” by downplaying sexual assault occurrences, especially among football players at the time. She claimed that her November 2015 resignation, seven months after being hired, was a result of these and other claims such as Baylor’s attempted interference of her investigations against members of the football team. These were outlined in the court document.
“The athletic department often impeded the Title IX office’s ability to promptly interview witnesses or alleged harassers…This prevented prompt enforcement of Title IX because it gave witnesses and harassers time to collect their thoughts, compare stories, manufacture alibis or otherwise gain information about the nature of the investigation involving them,” the document stated.
Though her allegations were dismissed, Lyons is eligible to file a new claim with permission from Judge Pitman. Lyons’ lawyer, Rogge Dunn, echoed this fact in a statement given to the Lariat.
“The court dismissed the case without prejudice to refiling.” Dunn said.
Dunn is also the attorney who represented Patty Crawford, a former Baylor Title IX coordinator. Along with the allegations she made against the university reviewed in her specific case, Lyons also made comments agreeing with the complaints made by Crawford, regarding Baylor’s alleged lax implementation of federal statutes banning sex-based discrimination. Crawford’s assertions launched an ongoing federal Title IX investigation, that began in October 2016 and led to Crawford resigning three months after, in January 2017.
The cases against Baylor have been widely discussed by people on and off campus across the country.
Keller junior Simbarashe Masando is disappointed in the management of the lawsuits regarding sexual assault, which have been going on even before he arrived at the university.
“Baylor’s Title IX federal lawsuits are important not just for our school but for all universities; however, I feel as though the cases are being handled poorly in a number of different facets,” Masando said.
Baylor University declined to comment.
For more information on how to report assaults, or to learn more about Baylor University’s policy and process, please visit www.baylor.edu/titleix. You may also contact the Title IX office directly by phone (254)710-8454, or email, TitleIX_Coordinator@baylor.edu.