Baylor University has settled a yearslong lawsuit brought by 15 women who say they were sexually assaulted on or near campus — allegations that brought down a university president and football coach.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Notice of the settlement was filed in online court records Monday, Sept. 18.
The women claimed Baylor “permitted a campus condition rife with sexual assault” and ignored reports of sexual violence on campus. They also said the university’s disregard of reported sexual assault violated federal Title IX protections against sex-based discrimination.
The fallout from these allegations was enormous, bringing about institutional change after the ouster of President Ken Starr and Head Football Coach Art Briles.
The federal lawsuit originated in 2016 and was initially filed in Waco’s U.S. District Court.
The women were represented by Waco attorney Jim Dunnam and Austin attorney Chad Dunn.
Dunnam told the Waco Tribune-Herald the lawsuit took seven years to resolve in part because Baylor often was resistant to provide information to investigators in the case.
The paper reported: “He said his clients wanted to not only get justice for themselves, but set a national precedent for other universities on how to handle sexual assaults, a goal he said was achieved ‘beyond anything we could have hoped.’”
“What is important to our clients is the national impact they had in affording protections to other young women that hopefully, this won’t happen to them,” Dunnam said. “There have been dozens of rulings in this case that have provided findings in Title IX and what you are required to do, and those are now being taught in curriculum for faculty, administrators and general counsel.
The university issued an unattributed statement: “We are deeply sorry for anyone connected with the Baylor community who has been harmed by sexual violence. While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we pray that this agreement will allow these 15 survivors to move forward in a supportive manner.”