Starr still Baylor president—for now

Ken Starr, seen here delivering the commencement address at San Marcos Baptist Academy, remains president of Baylor University for the time being, in spite of widespread reports to the contrary. But the university's board of regents expects to make an announcement within two weeks. (San Marcos Baptist Academy Photo)

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WACO—Ken Starr remains president of Baylor University as of May 24, but the school’s board of regents expects to make some announcement by June 3.

Multiple news outlets reported Baylor University’s board of regents fired Ken Starr as president, but school officials initially refused to comment on the matter. However, the board chair eventually told a Waco TV station and newspaper Starr still was president as of May 24.

News about Starr’s purported dismissal—first reported by Chip Brown of HornsDigest.com and picked up by multiple national news sources—broke less than two weeks after Baylor’s regents received a “comprehensive briefing” from the Pepper Hamilton law firm.

Regents retained the Philadelphia firm last September to investigate Baylor’s response to reports of sexual violence. The university has not released information from the investigation.

At least one source said Starr—best known for his role as the Whitewater independent counsel who investigated former President Bill Clinton—may be reassigned to a new role in the Baylor Law School.

Neither personnel in Baylor’s communications office nor Baylor Regents Chair Richard Willis answered cell phone calls Tuesday morning.

However, early afternoon May 24, the university issued a brief statement: “The Baylor board of regents continues its work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation. and we anticipate further communication will come after the board completes its deliberations. We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the university will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.”

Later, Willis told the Waco Tribune-Herald  and KWTX-TV Starr still was the university president as of May 24. Willis told the newspaper the board would provide additional information soon.

Baylor’s regents hired Pepper Hamilton to conduct an independent external investigation after Sam Ukwuachu, a former Baylor Bears football player, was convicted and received a 180-day jail sentence and 10 years’ probation for sexual assault.

In March, a former Baylor student who reported former Bears football player Tevin Elliott raped her filed a lawsuit asserting multiple Title IX violations and negligence.

Elliott was convicted in 2014 on two counts of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, names Baylor’s board of regents, Head Football Coach Art Briles and Athletic Director Ian McCaw as defendants.

Editor’s Note: The original headline, “Ken Starr reportedly fired as Baylor University president,” was changed and the article updated as information became available throughout the day. Update: Baylor University’s board of regents announced plans May 26 to remove Ken Starr from his role as president, fire Head Football Coach Art Briles and sanction Athletic Director Ian McCaw.

 

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