Baylor University denied claims Monday that the University used a mole to infiltrate sexual assault survivor groups as a way to shape its response to the sexual assault scandal that erupted in 2016.
The claims came in a report from PR Week which, citing unnamed sources, says Director of Student Activities Matt Burchett arranged demonstrations for survivor groups and passed on what he learned to school officials.
In response Baylor University Spokeswoman Lori Fogleman sent the following statement.
“The assertions made in this article under the guise of ‘unnamed sources’ are outlandish and incredibly inaccurate. For one thing, a ‘mole’ is someone who operates secretly. Mr. Burchett was above board in his role. He was not undercover nor was he duping anyone. What’s more, the students were certainly free to reject his suggestions. As part of his official duties, Mr. Burchett regularly facilitates expressive activities by students and coordinates a variety of resources from across campus to meet their needs. Information is shared back and forth to ensure such events are safe and provide a platform for the students to communicate their message.”
Fogleman also pointed to an article published Monday by Inside Higher Ed in which Burchett describes his role as a "liason between students who want to plan 'expressive events,' such as vigils, and campus departments."
Baylor is currently facing a lawsuit by ten Jane Does who claim the University mishandled their claims of sexual assault.
The sexual assault scandal gained national attention in 2016 when Baylor fired head football coach Art Briles, University President Ken Starr and Athletic Director Ian McCaw.
Baylor hired the Philadelphia law firm, Pepper Hamilton, to investigate how it handled sexual assault claims. The firm made 105 recommendations in what became known as the Pepper Hamilton report.