The Texas Attorney General's office said Baylor must comply with a new law that mandates private universities in the state of Texas comply with public information guidelines. However, the school can also withhold certain parts of documents that have to do with privacy issues.
The opinion from the attorney general comes after the Waco Tribune-Herald made a request for records regarding sexual assault allegations at the school. The paper made the request to the school, which then asked for the opinion regarding the request from the state. From the Tribune-Herald:
In an opinion received by the Tribune-Herald on Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Ellen Webking wrote that portions of some documents submitted to her office by Baylor must be released. Webking wrote that other records Baylor claims must be withheld under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act were not ruled on because Baylor did not submit examples of those reports based on student privacy concerns.
The opinion does not clarify which aspects of the reports should be withheld.
“The (Baylor police) department asserts the remaining requested information is subject to FERPA and has not submitted this information to our office for review,” Webking wrote in her opinion. “Because the department has not submitted this information to our office for review to determine if this information consists of a law enforcement record to which FERPA does not apply, we must rely on the department’s assertion this information is subject to FERPA.”
It seems clear the school didn't submit any information to the attorney general regarding the privacy issues because that information it submitted would violate the guidelines it's claiming to abide to. While it may seem like a noble endeavor, Baylor is the school that recently hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the way it has handled allegations of sexual misconduct at the school.
According to ESPN's Outside the Lines, a preliminary "update" of the firm's report was given to the Baylor Board of Regents.
The law regarding info at private universities was co-authored by Sen. John Whitmire (D). The paper quoted an anonymous staffer for the senator that said Baylor was playing "silly games." The school has argued that privacy concerns are relevant because of Title IX regulations when it comes to university investigations of sexual assault claims.
“I think they are playing silly games, and yes, they have a right to go to the attorney general’s office, but didn’t (Attorney General Ken Paxton) graduate from Baylor Law School?” the Whitmire staffer said. “They are subject to the same rules that a public police department is and they have to provide the same information through the Public Information Act. I think they are just playing silly games with it.”
The Tribune-Herald said it made the request after women who said they'd been sexually assaulted publicly said the school mishandled their claims. The defensive end was found guilty of raping a female student after he transferred to the school from Boise State. Ukwuachu never played a down for Baylor and news of the rape allegations against him weren't public until shortly before his trial started.
Former Baylor player Tevin Elliott is also serving a prison sentence for sexual assault while former defensive end Shawn Oakman is facing accusations of sexual assault. Baylor also being sued for its actions by a woman who said Elliott sexually assaulted her and another OTL report said the school waited nearly two years to start an investigation into sexual assault accusations against two ex-players.
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