-- The president of Baylor University, Kenneth Starr, has spoken out after the school announced he had been demoted to Chancellor amid criticisms of the way the Texas college has handled reports of rape and assault by football players.
In a statement, Starr said he reached an agreement "in principle" with the school board to transfer to the Chancellor position. While he applauds the board for its transparency, he said he was not privy to the allegations of violence until the fall, at which time he "immediately launched an internal investigation before recommending to the Board an independent external investigation."
In addition to the Chancellor position, Starr will remain a professor at the Baylor University Law School, according to a statement posted to the Baylor website announcing "leadership changes and extensive corrective actions." His demotion will be effective on May 31.
Starr called being the president of Baylor a "high honor and distinct privilege" and said that he "happily" remains a part of the Baylor Nation "for now." He called the scandal an "exceedingly difficult time" for the university and apologized to the victims of sexual violence.
"Despite these dark days, I remain resolved to join hands with the Baylor family to continue to build the University as we carry out its distinct mission in Christian higher education. May God grant us grace, mercy, and peace," Starr said.
Baylor Head Football Coach, Art Briles, was also suspended with intent to terminate, while Athletic Director Ian McCaw was sanctioned and placed on probation, the university announced.
Dr. David Garland, a former dean and professor at Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, will serve as interim president, a role he previously filled from 2008 to 2010 before Starr was named president.
Baylor failed to "consistently support complainants through the provision of interim measures" and "failed to take action to identify and eliminate a potential hostile environment, prevent its recurrence or address its effects," the university said.
Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, said in the statement that the school is "horrified" by the extent of of the acts of sexual violence on campus. The Waco, Texas school is a private, Baptist university.
"This investigation revealed the University's mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students,” Willis said in the statement. “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.”