Knee/neck-deep in an ongoing scandal that’s garnered significant attention from the most powerful law enforcement agency in the state of Texas, the largest Baptist university in the country is making some gender history.
Tuesday, Baylor announced that Dr. Linda Livingstone has been hired as the university’s president. Livingstone, who comes to BU from George Washington University in Washington D.C. and will officially begin her new job June 1, is the first-ever female president in the history of the university.
She is also a former faculty member at the school, serving first as an assistant professor in BU’s department of management from 1991-97 and then as an associate professor in the same department from 1997-2002.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 15th President of Baylor University,” said Dr. Livingstone in a statement. “I chose to begin my academic career at Baylor in significant part because of Baylor’s Christian mission. To return to Baylor to partner with the exceptional faculty, staff, students and administrators to fulfill the University’s vision to be a top-tier research institution, committed to excellence in all aspects of University life, while strengthening the Christian mission is an opportunity I look forward to with enthusiasm.”
The hiring comes a month and a half after the Texas Rangers confirmed that it had commenced a preliminary investigation centered on how the university, the football program and campus police handled allegations of sexual assault made against student-athletes, most notably members of the football team. The confirmation of the probe came a little over a month after details in one of the handful of federal lawsuits the university is facing emerged, with that suit alleging 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011.
Two former Bears football players have been convicted of sexual assault that were committed while they were members of the football team.
The scandal cost the university’s head football coach, athletic director and president their jobs last year. In early February, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”
“We talked quite a bit about some of the investigations and lawsuits the university is facing, so I go into this with eyes wide open about some of those continuing challenges that we have to work through,” Livingstone, by way of the Waco Tribune, said in a teleconference in regards to what she asked of university officials during the search process. “I asked some questions about the commitments of the regents of continuing to work through these issues and ensure we get to the right place as a university.”