Interim President David Garland sent the following letter to “Baylor Nation” late on Friday afternoon, June 3. Bette McCall Miller sent a copy of a personal response she sent to Dr. Garland to both the Waco Trib and The Baylor Line Foundation. Both are reprinted in their entirety.
Dear Baylor Nation,
We have entered a new season in the life of Baylor University. It is a season that calls for clarity, compassion and collective action as a Christian academic community and as a body of Baylor alumni that spans multiple generations, often within individual families. It is a season that calls for Baylor to stand together and speak as one voice, resolute in our shared commitment to student welfare and safety and to our institutional values.
I am honored and humbled that the Regents have asked me again to serve as Baylor’s interim president. I also want to recognize that the work lying ahead must be undertaken by the hearts and hands of the many thousands of Baylor students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends for whom Baylor is a treasured institution. We are called to come together in prayerful reflection and honest action.
I echo the sentiments of our Board Chair Ron Murff, “We, as the governing Board of this University, offer our apologies to the many who sought help from the University. We are deeply sorry for the harm that survivors have endured.”
Baylor’s priority is to make our campus, and beyond, safe for our more than 16,000 students. We acknowledge our failures in the past and take responsibility for them, and we have already taken steps to ensure that we are in compliance with Title IX, the Jeanne Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and other state and federal obligations. Our aim is to set the highest standards in this area.
This commitment has animated the entire course of action pursued by the Board of Regents during the past year, beginning with the decision last fall to retain the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton to conduct an external and comprehensive review of the University’s response to reports of sexual and gender-based violence under Title IX. Pepper Hamilton delivered to both the full Board of Regents and then-president Ken Starr a briefing in February and again in May. Ken Starr was present for both briefings, which included presentation of the Findings of Fact, as released publicly, and discussion of the specific facts that supported the identified incidences of failure over the years studied. Neither Ken Starr nor Pepper Hamilton was a part of the Board’s deliberations.
In recent days, various voices have called for the release of the “full report.” Pepper Hamilton’s report was delivered in the form of an oral presentation that fully and comprehensively presented the individual and aggregated findings and the evidence supporting the findings. The Findings of Fact and Recommendations, which were released publicly in a format that protected the privacy of individuals, fully reflect the facts and core failings identified in the investigation. The findings revealed clear opportunities for Baylor to improve. We encourage everyone to read the documents that are available at www.baylor.edu/rtsv.
Pepper Hamilton, our external investigators, had the freedom to follow the facts where they led and to determine those facts without any interference by University administration or the Board. Pepper Hamilton’s report was impartial and objective, and they did not hold back in their assessment. This firm was selected by our Board of Regents for its credibility and expertise in investigations of sexual violence. We fully trust the validity of its investigation. They had access to all requested documents and any Baylor employee they requested to interview.
They independently reached out to and heard from brave survivors who assisted the investigation by sharing their experiences. We respect survivors’ freedom to choose whether, when and how to share their experiences and will support survivors who choose to share their experiences publicly. The details of these individuals’ experiences will not be discussed publicly by the University. We hurt for these students and deeply appreciate their willingness to speak with Pepper Hamilton as part of this review. Their insights and participation will help us better address these issues in the future.
The Board and the administration, in short, have been as forthright as is possible and are fully committed to presenting the truth of these findings to Baylor Nation and the world. We are also committed to reconciliation with those who have been harmed.
An Enhanced Title IX Office
Baylor has long been known as a place where students are loved and cared for, and that commitment remains true even as we face the realities of these findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation. I am grateful to the Regents for openly addressing the findings. It demonstrates their unwavering dedication to do what is right for our students, both today and in the future. I am equally thankful to the Regents for investing in a Title IX office that is capable, compassionate, professional and working hard to care for the needs of students.
Baylor’s Title IX Office professionals have worked to assist many students in times of need, walking alongside them through a complex and trying process. I am extremely grateful to Patty Crawford and her recently expanded team who are doing so much in this vital area of University operations. During my tenure as interim provost, I oversaw the hiring of Patty, and I know her to be a professional with the highest standards, deepest compassion for students and utmost dedication to student welfare.
Improvements Being Pursued
All possible resources are being deployed to foster a culture on campus that is characterized by dignity, integrity and respect for others, including the awareness and prevention of sexual assault. We have already begun to implement the recommendations made by Pepper, and they have provided us with an excellent roadmap for the work ahead of us. In addition, a recommitment to our foundational faith will guide us as we strive to be true to the Lord we serve.
Baylor’s leadership is committed to doing all we can to implement change that leads to improved processes, communication, training, prevention, and response. An Executive-Level Task Force, led by Dr. Reagan Ramsower, senior vice president and chief operating officer, and implementation groups composed of members of Baylor’s faculty, staff and administration will build on significant improvements made in recent years by acting promptly to address Pepper Hamilton’s recommendations. A second Executive-Level Task Force, led by Dr. Greg Jones, executive vice president and provost, will focus on spiritual life and the cultivation of character across the university.
The Path Forward
When I first served as interim president of Baylor, from 2008 to 2010, one goal served as my guidepost for each day’s decisions — to strengthen Baylor’s mission of educating men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community. This remains my goal.
We ask God for strength and guidance as we make our way forward. Thank you for your abiding love for Baylor University.
And a response from Bette McCall Miller ‘67
Dear Dr. Garland,
The many alumni who are members of the Baylor Line Foundation (formerly the Baylor Alumni Association) have understandably completely lost confidence in the regents and the Baylor administration as a result of the unscrupulous actions of some members of both those groups in attempting to eliminate the BAA and its campus home, the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.
We can only consider standing together with you “as one voice” if the regents will release the full Pepper- Hamilton report (with names of victims of course redacted), not just the “Findings of Fact” and “Recommendations.” We would like the opportunity to judge for ourselves whether those documents “fully reflect the facts and core failings identified in the investigation.”
If the Baylor regents continue to refuse to release the full report, it will be impossible for us to believe that you and they have been “as forthright as is possible and are fully committed to presenting the truth of these findings to Baylor Nation and the world.” We of “Baylor Nation” were educated at Baylor. We can be trusted enough to be given ALL the facts before we are asked to commit to coming together “ in prayerful reflection and honest action.”
Bette McCall Miller ’67
18 thoughts on “A response from Bette McCall Miller ’67 to David Garland’s June 3 e-mail to Baylor Nation”
Dear President Garland:
Thank you for stepping up once again to lead Baylor University during difficult times. I understand the need to keep certain names and information confidential; however, the only information that I have seen regarding the “findings of fact” by Pepper Hamilton and the Board of Regents have been conclusory statements of opinion at best. As an attorney, I have represented women in sexual harassment and assault claims and agree with the expressions of concern and sympathy expressed for the victims of sexual assault at our beloved Baylor. Their plight and any ignored complaints should surely be our first concern. It is also concerning to me that what I believe to be good and upright men in Art Briles and Ian McGraw have now had their character smeared because of the conclusory statements released thus far.
There is a difference in a systems failure and character flaws. I remain disappointed in the lack of transparency by the Board and Baylor leadership.
Thank you again for stepping up and you have my support in your efforts to bring about peace, strength and understanding at our wonderful university.
Glynn Gilcrease, Jr. BA 67; JD 73
I agree with the 2 letters written to interim President Garland. I believe there is something fishy going on within our BOR and I believe Coach Briles has been made the scapegoat. I believe the BOR owes Coach Briles and Baylor Nation an apology. I am not sure of the extent of the sexual assault issues but the crimes were committed by grown men who made a horrible decision those men should be held responsible. The BOR decision to fire Coach Briles, but retain Starr, has hurt our university and the Big 12. Athletics are not everything, I totally agree and Baylor, as a Christian university, has to stand apart from the world but I believe the wrong person is being held responsible and the BOR decision will not only effect Baylor but ALL of the Big 12. Thank you for a job well done. Until the FULL report is released (with victims names redacted) I will continue my disappointment in Baylor leadership. I am a die-hard Baylor alum and will always encourage the greatness of Baylor, it’s values and experience BUT that does not mean I stand behind the administration.
I agree 100% with the alumni association. The biggest coverup appears to be the Board covering up its own mess. Where’s the redemption and second chance for Art Briles and Ken Starr? One would think Baylor, of all places, would recognize the term “sacrificial lamb”.
All eyes are on Baylor.
At least three audiences:
1. BU folks who work and live in the bubble.
2. BU folks who work and live outside the bubble.
3. Everyone else.
To ignore #2 and #3 above is not wise . . . Good folks in those categories and to ignore them is not the Baylor Way.
Be a light to the world, not just a candle to those in the bubble.
The last thing Baylor needs right now is a child of a former president using this tragedy to write an open letter that talks about the BAA and the HDAC being knocked down. That lawsuit was settled. I thought we changed our purpose to focus on scholarships for legacy students. Write a personal letter to the Trib or send out an email to your friends or post something to your Facebook wall. Why do the same few people keep using this organization for advocacy? There are too many diverse opinions in the BLF to promote some above others. If I write an open letter to Dr. Garland praising the Regent’s actions, will the BLF blast it out to all our members? The answer is definitely not. Let’s move on. Stop the political advocacy and igniting wars that have already been settled. Let’s focus on raising money for students rather than trying to govern Baylor.
Thank you for posting this comment. I would be happy to publish your letter supporting the actions of the regents in this space in the Comments section, with Dr. Garland’s detailed letter leading off the discussion.
Perhaps what is meant is that all the evidence should be released. From what I understand there will not be nor is there a “full report”.
Until all facts are made public, and that is likely never to happen due to the delicacy of the matters at hand, outsiders, even alumnae, cannot make clear decisions on what occurred. What we know is that terrible offenses against women occurred and the University failed to provide proper post-assault support. These women are “survivors” as Dr. Garland states in his letter, but more important for everyone at Baylor—and all colleges and universities—to understand is that these women are “victims”.
When a parent sends their teen to Baylor they expect an environment where education, morality, ethics and safety are top of mind considerations of the University. As ESPN reported, “During the first rape, (the victim) was shoved into the muddy ground before her pants were pulled down. After it was over, the Baylor football player allowed her to get up and walk away, but then he pushed her, face forward, into a metal fence and raped her again.”
Baylor is required by federal law—Title IX—to thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual violence, and provide security, counseling services and academic help to those who report assaults. According to published reports, the University failed in this regard. This young woman sought help through campus security and student health services, being turned away in both instances.
Jasmine Hernandez’ lawsuit against Baylor identifies “allegations of indifference.” Since when does an institution that prides itself on its Christian heritage become indifferent to a violent crime such as rape? Why did it take Baylor more than three years to comply with a federal directive? We expect a higher standard from Baylor’s leadership, whether the President, coaches, head of security, student health services or chief judicial officer.
Imagine you are one of these young women who turned to the school you attend and found no response. Can’t do it? Now imagine this was your daughter or granddaughter.
Mr. Osborne, I’m guessing you are an employee at the BLF. While I appreciate being able to express my opinion on here, would the BLF be willing to send out an email blast to all members with a response to Dr. Garland’s email that takes the exact opposite opinion as Ms. Miller? I know there are many members in our organization who feel Baylor’s Board took the right actions. To my knowledge, Ms. Miller isn’t an office holder or in a position that would make her opinion more relevant than other members. My concern here is that we are proving our critics right by only disseminating opinions that paint Baylor’s leadership in bad light. We can’t truly call ourselves an impartial organization that provides alumni a voice when the voices of one school of thought are consistently elevated above the rest. That is my two cents. Thanks for listening to my rant.
Thank you for taking the time to provide your thoughtful view on this. A couple of thoughts: First, we are publishing every comment we receive if the person provides their name and is respectful of the other side. Second, these are NOT e-mail blasts. We do have some subscribers to our blog posts but most people find them through social media, through our Between the Lines newsletter twice a month, or by visiting our website.
Our goal is to provide a forum for the Baylor Family to discuss issues. We reprinted Dr. Garland’s letter in its entirety and then, after clearly noting it was a personal opinion, provided Bette McCall Miller’s opposing view, which she sent to a number of news outlets. It was actually a way to publish Dr. Garland’s letter for those who did not receive it (or missed it in their e-mails going into the weekend) and to give them a way to express their views).
We are publishing these views without editorial comments. We’ve done the same on the post that has links to many stories — some positive and some negative. We have not taken an editorial position on whether the Board of Regents took the right actions; to be honest, we just don’t know. All we gave asked is for the BOR to be transparent about where its members fell short and to hold itself accountable, just as it has done with other members of the Baylor Family.
If the results of the investigation of Penn State can be made public, so can the results of the Pepper Hamilton investigation. Hiding behind FERPA law is cowardly. We need open transparency so that we can move forward with a contrite heart, tend to the needs of the victims, forgive each other and heal.
My wife & I voided a modest BU scholarship (with thanks for my BU education; ’63) when specific issues related to sexual identity & sexual harassment were handled in a blasé manner by Development staff officers. Two personal letters to President Starr with specific questions were ignored!!! Now I know why!
I’m glad you printed Bette’s letter. While I don’t necessarily agree with all that she says, I do agree the full report should be released. In my long years of public service in appointed and elected office, I learned that the devil you didn’t know was a lot worse than the one you did. In the past few years I have had disappoints in Baylor actions and the actions of BAA. I truly hope that this episode will purge the air and Baylor will once again be an institution of honor. I think that can begin with Ken Starr gone. Senator Don Adams
As a 1970 Baylor graduate (BS Biology, Pre-Dental) and a Life Member of the Baylor Line Foundation (formerly the Baylor Alumni Association), I do not wish to be lumped into a group of alumni who have ‘completely lost confidence in the Baylor Regents and the Baylor Administration as a result of unscrupulous actions of some members of both of those groups attempting to eliminate the BAA ….’. Today is a new day. We are establishing new ways of cooperating with one another.
I can and do agree that some members of the Regents and the Baylor administration engaged in egregious, unscrupulous, obnoxious, unreasonable, hurtful – and likely illegal – behavior in their dealings with the Baylor Alumni Association. I agree that the full Pepper-Hamilton Report, minus redacted information necessary to meet privacy guidelines, should be made available for review and consideration. Yes, we can be trusted to review and handle ALL the facts.
But — a vote was recently taken and an agreement between Baylor and the Baylor Alumni Association / Baylor Line Foundation has been reached. Both sides won some issues and both sides lost some issues. But – an agreement was reached. Let us leave the name calling, rancor, raising of previously resolved issues, and antagonistic language in the past and move forward with solving the Pepper-Hamilton issue — and the much larger issues Baylor is now facing — in a spirit of Christian cooperation and trust, following a period of ‘prayerful consideration and honest action’.
Let’s work diligently to keep our interactions with one another positive, for the good of Baylor.
Charles F. Massler, Jr., BS, DDS, MEd
Call in a paralegal to document the report and what was said in its entirety. I would think someone would have recorded it or maybe had a stenographer available. We do not need to know the names of the victims. We do need to know who on the BOR tried to help Starr and McCaw hide the mess under the carpet.
Common sense dictates that Briles simply didn’t have the pull to hush up Waco or Baylor Police. McCaw, Starr, and the BOR DID. This is where the corruption lied, not soley on Briles. He definitely was the sacrificial lamb in this matter.
He wasn’t totally blameless, but a fish rots from the head down. I don’t need to tell you who’s on the rotting head. After what you did to the BAA, you can never be trusted again.
Forgive? Maybe. Forget? Not on your life. Not until we alumni can hold you accountable. If it means a process for a recall of members, so be it. The BOR has gotten away with far too much since the Sloan Vision 2012 days.
Could someone please answer a question: Why was Ken Starr only 2/3 fired instead of completely? Does he know where some bodies are buried? Just curious . . .
My concern is — what does the future hold for decisions, hiring, and governance at Baylor? What are the chances that serious failures (not necessarily the same failures as the recent ones) by replacement appointees will continue and cost Baylor still more money and a further tarnished reputation? If three former Baylor presidents have been fired, did the fault lie in the hiring process or undiscovered character flaws? Lack of specified qualifications and expectations? Those responsible for hiring? Lack of clear policies and compliance? Should Baylor review the qualifications for membership on the Board of Regents? Should the board seek the advice (and invite the membership) of successful presidents of admirable higher institutions, whatever their faith? Could Baylor profit from a “What Works Clearinghouse”? Baylor can keep firing people who fail the institution, or the institution can conduct an honest and probably painful examination of its weaknesses, repair them, and build a stronger future.
With every day that passes I grow more disgusted and disheartened with the Baylor Board of Regents and administration. Your arrogance and corruption have permanently sullied the name of Baylor University.
How can we trust the very institutions that were active participants in these hurtful miscarriages of justice to honestly rectify the situation?
The Board should immediately issue the full report and then periodically issue updates of corrective actions being taken, with only the names of the victims redacted. If they are not willing to do that, they should all resign immediately.
Douglas L. Weiskopf BU ’77