Baylor scandal inspires raft of Texas campus assault bills
April 5, 2017
Texas lawmakers are pushing for tougher sexual assault reporting requirements on college campuses in response to the ongoing investigations into Baylor University’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving its football program.
The Legislature convenes every other year and is in session for the first time since the Baylor scandal blew up and led to the firing last year of its successful football coach, Art Briles, and the resignation of its president, Ken Starr.
The nation’s largest Baptist university is facing federal lawsuits from more than a dozen women who contend that school officials ignored or suppressed their sexual assault claims and fostered a culture of rape within the football program.
Lawmakers have reacted by proposing bills that would require school employees and student leaders to immediately relay reports of assaults to the school’s investigations office or face possible criminal charges or expulsion, bar schools from using student conduct code violations to intimidate victims and witnesses, and make it easier to report assaults anonymously and online.
“It’s time we changed the culture on college campuses,” said state Sen. Joan Huffman a former prosecutor and judge from Houston. “Texas must lead the way on this issue.”