Per usual, Baylor’s football team is making national headlines. However, this time it has nothing to do with the team’s performance on the field. Rather, it has to do with its performance off it.
According to a USA Today article entitled “Baylor faces Title IX Lawsuit over Sex Assault” by A.J. Perez, this past March, a woman Jasmin Hernandez was raped by a former Baylor football player, Tevin Elliot. However, Hernandez claimed the school “failed to properly respond to the accusation of sexual abuse and dating violence” and therefore filed a suit against Baylor for IX violations.
In an attempt to bolster its PR and salvage itself after these accusations were made public, Baylor fired both its football head coach and athletic director as well as removed its president Ken Starr. However, it may just have been too little too late.
Now, according to Perez, less than two months after this incident, three more women have come forward claiming that they too have been victims of the Baylor system. All three are claiming to have been raped by way of “student on student sexual assault” as well as “sex based harassment.” One of the women, referred to as Jane Doe 1, is claiming that she reported the assault to the Baylor advocacy center and the University conducted no official subsequent investigation that led to any arrests, or retribution for the accused assailants.
According to the article, in 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court found that damages can be rewarded if a school is “deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment” and the harassment deprives a victims of access to the educational opportunities. As the current facts are presented, the women have a lot to gain from suing the school.
Shan Wu, a former sex crimes prosecutor for the Department of Justice and current defense attorney, sheds light on how IX works and how the these women must go about it in order to achieve a ruling in their favor.
“The benefit of specifically suing pursuant to Title IX is that the plaintiff seeks relief for violation of a particular federal law.” “Because Baylor is a private institution, a non-Title IX lawsuit against the university would typically need to rely upon a breach of contract theory.”
While the University will probably be able to regain it’s footing from the financial ramifications of the suits, it may never fully recover from the negative social stigma now attached to the establishment.