Clarifying recent media reports, commitment to students
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Many of you are aware of reports and comments within traditional and social media late last week regarding Baylor University’s correspondence asserting our existing religious exemptions to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).
Unfortunately, our acknowledgement from the DOE is being characterized publicly by some as an indication that Baylor will now stop or modify how we provide Title IX or other protections to students, including those who identify as LGBTQ.
This is completely untrue.
There will be NO CHANGES to Baylor’s current practices or policies related to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual and interpersonal conduct resulting from this assertion of our existing religious exemptions. Our Office of Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX will continue to investigate sexual harassment allegations or related complaints and investigate these thoroughly and fairly. We have taken and will continue to take meaningful steps to ensure all students – including members of the LGBTQ community – are loved, cared for and protected as a part of the Baylor Family.
This is a narrow, yet complicated legal matter that has implications for all religious-based universities, not just Baylor. Accordingly, we are responding to current considerations by the DOE to move to an expanded definition of sexual harassment, which could infringe on Baylor’s rights under the U.S. Constitution, as well as Title IX, to conduct our affairs in a manner consistent with our religious beliefs.
Be assured that we expect all members of the Baylor Family to be treated with respect and dignity. This institution is fully committed to promoting and maintaining an educational environment in which all students – including those who identify as LGBTQ – can learn and grow in accordance with our Christian mission and our call to love our neighbors as ourselves within a caring community.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.