Board of Regents Announces Outside Counsel
WACO, Texas (Sept. 2, 2015) – Baylor University’s Board of Regents announced today that they have retained the services of the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, to conduct a thorough and independent external investigation into the university’s handling of cases of alleged sexual violence. The investigation will be led by partners Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez, well-recognized experts in the institutional response to all aspects of sexual misconduct matters.
“I am pleased with our board’s swift and astute decision to retain the services of Gina Smith and Leslie Gomez to examine our processes and policies,” said President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez are skilled and experienced investigators who will help us pinpoint where we are strong and where we need to make improvements to ensure the highest degree of integrity to protect the safety and welfare of all our students.”
With a national practice focused on the institutional response to all aspects of sexual misconduct matters, Smith and Gomez advise colleges and universities on federal, state and local regulations, including Title IX, the Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, changes in the laws and investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence. They regularly conduct policy audits and assist in policy development, design and implementation of internal and external operating procedures.
The board also appointed a special committee of three Regents, outside of the university administration, to whom Pepper Hamilton will report their findings.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.