No surprise that state lawmakers don’t buy Baylor’s sexual assault defense

We wanted to move quickly.

That’s Baylor University’s feeble excuse for not requesting a written report into the campus’ sexual assault scandal.

The school contends that Pepper Hamilton lawyers needed six more months to craft such a document. So instead, the Board of Regents released only the law firm’s recommendations and a Baylor-produced document of generalized conclusions.

Almost a year later, questions only boil, most recently during a hearing before the state Senate’s Higher Education Committee.

And just think, in the time since regents heard the findings, Pepper Hamilton could have completed that written report of fact-based evidence almost twice over.

We understand the frustration of Austin lawmakers who were thwarted in getting many questions answered last week by Baylor’s interim president. But remember that David Garland didn’t even hear the Pepper Hamilton presentation, so his litany of “I don’t know” and “I wasn’t there” was unsurprising.

Baylor leaders seem oblivious to the fact that credibility isn’t built on repeated use of the word “transparency” but rather on answers that demonstrate that value in action.

At one point, as Garland argued that Baylor was not trying to “cover up what happened,” Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, responded: “I don’t buy that for a minute. I think that is exactly what was going on.”

State lawmakers are troubled by the same nagging questions raised by victims-rights advocates, Baylor alumni and this newspaper: Why no written report? Why have several key administration officials managed to keep their jobs? Why do the regents seem less than forthcoming?

The Senate committee’s grilling of Garland came during his testimony against a bill that would require any school receiving more than $5 million in Tuition Equalization Grants from Texas to comply with state open records and open meetings laws.

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