Former Baylor president Kenneth Starr has resigned as university chancellor but will still teach in the law school, ESPN’s Joe Schad report.
Starr was fired as Baylor’s president last week amid a massive sexual assault scandal within the Bears’ football program but intended to stay on as chancellor. But on Wednesday, the former federal judge and U.S. Solicitor General (and Bill Clinton antagonist) quit that role as well, “as a matter of conscience,” according to ESPN.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 1, 2016
Starr, like the rest of the Baylor hierarchy, has come under fire for allegedly covering up widespread claims of sexual assault, many of them within the athletic department. Others at the university to lose their jobs as a result of the scandal include football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw.
Starr’s quotes in the ESPN report about his resignation alternate between contrite and dismissive. Here’s a telling passage:
On Wednesday, Starr called for transparency at Baylor. He said that “as each day goes by that need becomes more and more pressing.”
“We need to put this horrible experience behind us,” Starr said. “We need to be honest.”
Starr, 69, added that he “didn’t know what was happening” regarding allegations of Baylor’s mishandling of sexual assault allegations, but he “willingly accepted responsibility.”
“The captain goes down with the ship,” he said.
Starr is talking about the need for honesty and accountability while denying that he actually did anything wrong. He claims to be stepping down as part of some noble sacrifice, not because he enabled a hideous culture of dismissiveness toward sexual violence.
Starr was particularly defensive of Briles, whom he called “an iconic father figure who is a genius” and compared to Abraham Lincoln.
Ken Starr compares Art Briles’ record on discipline to Abe Lincoln’s. “Briles in any judgement could have been a firmer disciplinarian.”
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) June 1, 2016
While Starr will no longer hold any leadership position at Baylor — his duties as chancellor were to be largely ceremonial anyway — he will stay on to teach at the university’s law school.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports that the U.S. Department of Education has received a Title IX complaint about Baylor’s handling of sexual assault, which could open up a federal investigation into the school’s treatment of sexual violence accusations.