Baylor's incoming president voices hope for the University

Emani Payne reports.

WACO - Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. will become Baylor University's 15th President on June 1.

Her ascension comes in the shadow of Baylor's ongoing sexual assault scandal, which led to the demotion and ultimate departure of her predecessor Ken Starr. Interim President David Garland has held the post since then.

In an interview with Channel Six Tuesday, Dr. Livingstone expressed confidence she could decrease the uncertainly about Baylor's ability to adequately respond to rape and sexual assault.

"I feel very confident that students coming to Baylor are going to be in a safe and secure environment," Dr. Livingstone said.

Dr. Livingstone said it was painful for her to watch the Baptist University's reputation become tarnished by the scandal. She said she planned to work closely with Waco Police, involve more counselors and investigators in the Title IX Office and improve transparency -- which critics claim has been lacking at the University.

"What we'll do going forward is look at what we need to communicate moving forward about what's happened, about what we have done to respond to that and what we need to continue do to respond to it," Dr. Livingstone said.

While Baylor University has denied a written report of the sexual assault investigation was ever produced by law firm Pepper Hamilton, Dr. Livingstone said she planned to get a briefing from the law firm.

"I am interested in getting the briefing from Pepper Hamilton and understanding the details behind what has certainly been made public to this point," she said. "And, so I'm going to be looking forward to that happening in the next few weeks."

Dr. Livingstone believed Bears for Leadership Reform, a group of prominent Baylor donors and stakeholders that has criticized the Board of Regents' handling of the sexual assault crisis, would work will her to improve University life.

"We are a family at Baylor, and families sometimes disagree strongly about things. They sometimes make mistakes," Dr. Livingstone said. "But, I think one of the other things you see in families is that they come together. They learn from that, and they figure out how to work together to move forward. And, that's certainly the goal."

To read more about Dr. Livingstone, click here.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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