Baylor would be required to comply with the state of Texas’ open records laws if a bill in the Texas Senate becomes law.
The bill, filed by Sen. Kel Seliger (R), mandates that all private schools that receive more than $5 million in tuition grants from the state for low-income students are subject to the same open records laws that public institutions are held to.
Baylor, along with the University of Incarnate Word, meets the criteria in the bill. Interim president David Garland testified against it on Wednesday and defended the school’s transparency in dealing with the sexual assault scandal at the school. Seliger, who said an impetus for the bill was Baylor’s mishandling of the allegations, wasn’t buying it. From the Texas Tribune:
“We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor,” he said.
Senators weren’t convinced.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for a minute,” Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, told Garland, repeating himself for emphasis. “I don’t buy that for a minute. I think that is exactly what was going on.”
This isn’t the first time Texas open records laws have been an issue based on Baylor’s actions regarding the sexual assault allegations. A 2015 law requires private universities to share police reports from campus police departments. But Baylor (and other private universities) can withhold the reports under the guise of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act if school officials have seen the records.
In the spring of 2016, Baylor cited FERPA guidelines in withholding information regarding a records request for documentation of sexual assault allegations at the school. Baylor told the Texas attorney general’s office it had to withhold part of the records requested because of FERPA, but didn’t say what and why. According to the Tribune, “a university spokesman said Wednesday that the school stopped that practice last summer.” The bill is still pending.
Tuesday, the school filed to dismiss a suit that alleged 52 sexual assaults by at least 31 football players from 2011-14. The suit was filed by a woman who said she was raped by two former Baylor players in 2013 and Baylor reportedly waited two years to investigate the claims. The two accused players were arrested on rape charges in connection with the incident last week.
More college football from Yahoo Sports:
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