WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor University is under federal investigation after its former coordinator responsible for preventing gender discrimination filed a complaint over sexual violence on the university's Waco campus, a federal agency spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The investigation by the Office for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Education began after the agency received a complaint from Patty Crawford, Baylor's former Title IX coordinator, said agency spokeswoman Dorie Nolt. The office "will collect and analyze all relevant evidence to develop its findings," she said in a statement Wednesday.
As Title IX coordinator, Crawford was entrusted with enforcing federal standards meant to prevent discrimination based on gender at Baylor. She resigned as Title IX coordinator early this month and said publicly that top campus leaders undermined her efforts to investigate sexual assault claims and were more concerned with protecting the Baylor "brand" than the students.
"I never had the authority, the resources or the independence to do the job appropriately," she said during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" the day after her resignation.
A Baylor spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the federal investigation but said in a statement in response to Crawford's resignation that Crawford went public with her grievances only after the school rejected a demand for $1 million and retention of book and film rights.
"Baylor University was surprised by the action taken by Patty Crawford given her public comments in August about the strong support she felt from across the University," the statement said.
Baylor has faced a storm of criticism over claims it mishandled sexual assault cases for several years. An outside review determined school administrators contributed to a "hostile" environment against assault victims. The scandal drew broad attention in large part because former football players were convicted of sexually assaulting women, and an independent review by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton determined the football program operated as it if were above the rules. Coach Art Briles was fired earlier this year, as was the athletic director. President Ken Starr was removed from his post by regents and he later resigned as chancellor.