Ex-Baylor interim president: 'I do not know' why Pepper Hamilton recommendations were made

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David Garland, the man who took over as president at Baylor following Ken Starr’s departure, said in a sworn deposition that he didn’t know why recommendations were made by the Pepper Hamilton law firm.

Garland gave a deposition to lawyers representing 10 women who have filed a Title IX suit against the school because of the way it handled accusations of sexual assault.

Pepper Hamilton was hired by the university to do an independent investigation of the school’s mishandling of sexual assault cases. It presented a finding of facts and recommendations to the school, and Garland responded with the following when asked why the recommendations were made.

“I only came in after the recommendations were made. I do not know the reason why they were made.”

After a further exchange, Garland said that “the recommendations were made necessary from the Findings of Fact, but my focus was entirely on the implementation of the recommendations.”

Q. Are you aware of anything other than what is contained in that written report about the underlying need for the 105 recommendations?
[Garland]. I’m only aware of what was written in the final Findings of Fact.
Q. So you’re not aware of anything other than what the public knows about the rationale and the need for these 105 recommendations?
[Garland]. I’m aware of what was written in the Findings of Fact.

You can view the entire deposition here on the Waco Tribune site. To view a PDF of the 105 recommendations, click here. 

When asked if he knew why the decision was made to hire an independent investigation, Garland said “I understand it now to be because there were newspaper accounts of sexual assaults by football players.”

Garland became the school’s interim president after Starr resigned amid his abysmal public handling of the allegations vs. the school. Garland’s time as school president was brief; he was replaced by new president Linda Livingstone in April. The deposition was given in his final day as the school’s president.

In his time as interim president, Garland posted an open letter to Baylor’s site describing the school’s actions in the wake of the sexual assault scandal. In addition to Starr’s resignation, the school fired football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw — now at Liberty — resigned after he was sanctioned.

In that letter, posted in November, Garland said it would be “unfair” if Baylor had fired any assistant coaches along with Briles. The head coach was the only person on the football coaching staff who lost his job.

“These painful, often agonizing decisions were not based on specific incidents – but on the extent of the problems, organizational shortcomings and repeated failures to care for those who came forward to report sexual violence. With regard to assistant football coaches and other administrators, we decided it would be unfair to remove those further down in the organization for the mistakes of their leaders.”

Garland also said in his deposition that he was unaware a law professor at Baylor had been utilized for an investigation into the school’s response to sexual assault accusations before the independent investigation.

Baylor released a statement to the Waco Tribune about Garland’s deposition defending his answers. He was the dean at the university’s theology school from 2007-15 and was on sabbatical while the Pepper Hamilton investigation took place at the school.

“Dr. Garland was not in the interim president role during the Pepper Hamilton investigation, nor was he on campus as he was dealing with the illness and loss of his beloved wife,” the statement said. “Dr. Garland was still in Colorado in May 2016 when the Board of Regents made decisions regarding changes in university leadership, at which time he was subsequently asked to return to Baylor and serve as interim president.”

When asked early in the deposition if he was familiar with the facts in the case he was being deposed for, Garland said he wasn’t. When asked why, he said “I was not–it was not presented as an–as an option.”

A suit filed earlier in the year alleged that over 50 sexual assaults had been committed by over 30 Baylor football players from 2011-2014.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!