- LM Otero/AP
Former Baylor president Ken Starr resigned as chancellor last week, following a report suggesting that school officials attempted to cover up sexual-assault allegations against the college’s football team.
Starr, who served as Baylor president from 2010 until May, has since called for transparency from the school’s board of regents.
Starr has urged for the release of the full report from the independent investigation conducted by the law firm Pepper Hamilton over the school’s handling of the allegations.
As Deadspin pointed out, in an interview with KWTX-TV, reporter Julie Hays asked Starr about an email used by an “Outside the Lines” report from a Baylor student who said she was raped by former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott. The email contained the subject line, “I Was Raped at Baylor” and was sent to several people, including Starr.
When first asked about whether he saw the email, of which KWTX-TV had a copy, Starr said: “I honestly may have. I’m not denying that I saw it.”
Later, according to Hays’ report, public-relations consultant Merrie Spaeth interrupted and said the station could not use that part of the interview. According to Hays, Spaeth has a background in crisis management, was the director of media relations at the White House under President Ronald Reagan, and coached Starr before his testimony to impeach Bill Clinton.
When the director refused to cut Starr’s answer, Spaeth asked to talk to Starr privately. The two left the room to talk. Upon returning, Spaeth said, “She needs to ask you that question again; whether you do it on camera or not is up to you.”
Starr was once again asked about the email. The second time he replied, “I honestly have no recollection of that,” before turning off camera to look at Spaeth and saying, “Is that OK?”
When asked a third time about the email, Starr doubled down, saying: “I honestly have no recollection of seeing such an email, and I believe that I would remember seeing such an email. The president of a university gets lots of emails. I don’t even see a lot of the emails that come into the office of the president. I have no recollection. None.”
According to KWTX-TV, later in the interview, Starr said Baylor could have done a better job at handling the allegations.
“I do believe we failed at training our investigators and adjudicators,” he said. “That is also one of the things I know the victims and their families say we needed more vigorous investigations, more effective investigations, and more counseling. We’re so sorry for what happened. We grieve, we grieve for what happened. But that doesn’t mean we can’t say it’s a new day. That’s the biblical perspective that we try to live up to at Baylor University.”