Baylor Yanks President Title From Ken Starr

And intends to fire head football coach Art Briles
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2016 1:56 PM CDT
Baylor Yanks President Title From Ken Starr
Baylor University President Kenneth Starr runs onto the field before the Baylor NCAA college football game against Texas Christian University in Waco, Texas, on Sept. 2, 2011.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Kenneth Starr's been defending Bill Clinton's legacy lately, but he's now got more pressing matters at hand. The former Whitewater counsel who once tried to take down the Clintons had his president title at Baylor University yanked away Thursday in the wake of a sex-assault scandal that also resulted in the firing of football coach Art Briles (officially, "suspension with intent to terminate," per the AP) and the probation of Ian McCaw, the college's athletic director, the New York Times reports. Starr will hold onto his second role as chancellor, but he'll vacate the president's post on May 31. The organizational changes came after Baylor retained a law firm last August to look into how the university had managed several sexual-assault accusations against members of the football team—and the news that came back wasn't good. That review, which Deadspin notes was compiled by Baylor into a 13-page "Findings of Fact", revealed a "fundamental failure" in adhering to federal regulations and dealing with misconduct claims, Baylor said in a statement.

The Pepper Hamilton probe—which included "an exhaustive review of data," as well as more than 65 interviews with current and ex-university employees and students—also found that some school bigwigs' dealings may have "directly discouraged" possible victims from speaking out; in one case, the report notes someone filed an assault claim and was retaliated against by the college. Starr had attracted much attention (and cash, in the hundreds of millions) for Baylor through fundraising efforts, in large part by touting its football team—a move that some say led Baylor to make moral compromises in the name of its football program, the Times notes. Starr had penned a letter in February, writing, "Our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence. … Sexual violence emphatically has no place whatsoever at Baylor University." SB Nation notes other administrators have also been terminated, though the school says it won't publicly ID them. (The Washington Post examines how religious schools "struggle" with sexual assault cases.)

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