Baylor University has settled a federal lawsuit with 15 women who sued the Baptist institution in 2016, claiming mishandling of sexual assaults, Chron.com reported.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The case was the largest in a series of scandals at Baylor in the mid-2010s that resulted in the removal of then president Kenneth Starr and head football coach Art Briles. The plaintiffs alleged that Baylor administrators and staff sought to stifle reports of sexual assault on campus, including, reportedly, by members of the football team.
The lawsuit also alleged that officials tried to dissuade women from pressing charges by reminding them of the university’s code of conduct prohibiting alcohol and drug use and premarital sex.
A report commissioned by an outside law firm found that Baylor administrators, including Starr, failed to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual assault on campus.
Since then, Baylor officials say, the institution has dramatically changed its approach to addressing assault claims and responding to those who report assault.
“We are deeply sorry for anyone connected with the Baylor community who has been harmed by sexual violence. While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we pray that this agreement will allow these 15 survivors to move forward in a supportive manner,” the university said in a statement.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs applauded the settlement and praised the women for their courage in taking on the entrenched culture of the university.
“Baylor’s focus of media attention on football tried to misdirect attention from institutional failures of the Baylor administration. Our clients would have none of that,” attorney Chad Dunn told the Associated Press. “Their determination brought the focus on officials in the ivory tower and ‘the Baylor way.’”