Sadly, sexual assault on college campuses are nothing new. If I had a daughter it would greatly concern me about where she went for higher learning. As a parent you would want a great academic school obviously, but you would also want a safe environment for your child. Some schools are safer than others but as we all know, crime can happen anywhere.
Luz Portillo, was a senior at UC Santa Cruz when she was raped by a professor, and received one of the largest settlements in a Title IX case when she was awarded $1.5 million from the school. This case shows just how prevalent rape is on campuses around the country. Baylor is my focus today because an entire football coaching staff got fired because of how often rape was occurring there. So often in fact that court documents described Baylor as having a "rape culture".
Former students are coming forward with cases dating back to 2004 alleging rape by athletes. The beginning of the end for former head football coach Art Briles was when Jasmine Hernandez and her attorney came forward and alleged she was raped in 2012 by former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000 for sexually assaulting Hernandez, and his criminal trial revealed accusations of rape by three other women and attempted rape of a fourth.
Art Briles filed an emergency motion on June 16, 2016 accusing Baylor University of unfairly blaming him and the football program for the school's overall "institutional failure" in addressing sexual assault. In a letter filed with the motion, Briles indicated that he doesn't want to settle the case and implies the school is using him as a scapegoat.
The letter states, "The conclusion is inescapable that the motive of Baylor University and the Board of Regents was to use its head football coach and the Baylor Athletic Department as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply with Title IX and other federal civil rights laws".
On Friday January 27, 2016 it got even worse for Briles when a Baylor graduate filed a lawsuit in which she alleges she was gang-raped by two football players in 2013. According to the Dallas Morning News, 31 football players committed 52 acts of rape between 2011 and 2014.
This leads us to today, earlier this week Art Briles dropped his lawsuit against Baylor officials and it's because three of the Regents filed legal documents that prove Briles and his Baylor staff knew about multiple violations committed by their players and in some cases they covered up what was happening. The text messages uncovered by the Pepper Hamilton law firm shows to what extent Briles and his staff went to sweep everything under the rug. This is why Art Briles, School President Ken Starr, and Athletic Director Ian McCaw all lost their jobs last year.
Universities make millions of dollars each year from alumni, other donations, and tuition, they have to stop putting a band-aid on a broken leg because lives are being ruined. They have to do better and take a more serious approach to address this issue on campuses. Maybe the Luz Portillo case will make them wake up, maybe multiple million dollar settlements will get them to act more seriously. For a crime as serious as rape to become a culture is just disgusting and wrong on so many levels. Baylor failed to protect those girls, Baylor should be embarassed.