Baylor University president Linda Livingstone helps the school navigate one of the largest scandals in US collegiate athletics.
As new jobs go, Linda Livingstone may have stepped into one of the year’s toughest. The newly minted president of Baylor University inherited more than just the world’s largest Baptist university and its 16,000-plus students when she took the helm in June.
A few weeks earlier, a former Baylor volleyball player filed what was then the latest in a long string of Title IX lawsuits against the university. She alleged she was gang-raped by members of the football team who, according to the suit, described such acts as “bonding” experiences. A previous lawsuit alleged that 31 football players for the Waco, Texas, university were involved in as many as 52 acts of sexual assault against fellow students.
Last year an independent report prepared by the Pepper Hamilton law firm offered Baylor 105 recommendations concerning the care the university owed its students. That report said Baylor had failed to protect students against its football players, some of whom the university recruited despite known histories of domestic or sexual violence.
Football coach Art Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw, and president Ken Starr left the university in the wake of the Pepper Hamilton report. Groups such as Bears for Leadership Reform, while supportive of the university’s newly appointed leaders, continue to argue members of the board played a role in what, to say the least, was a lapse of moral responsibility.
Eleven months after Starr’s departure, Baylor announced Linda Livingstone as the school’s new president. A former dean of the business schools at George Washington University and Pepperdine University, Livingstone began her career at Baylor. She was also a varsity basketball player during her college …