On November 1, the UNM School of Law will welcome Kenneth Starr for a lecture entitled “Investigating the President, Now and Then: Living in a Constitutional Quagmire”. Love him or hate him for his political views and for his time as an independent counsel investigating a president, I have little doubt that he can provide unique insight on the issue.

My concern with Mr. Starr lies not with his political past, but rather with his time as president of Baylor University. In a nutshell, Baylor suffered multiple sexual assaults by members of its football team under Mr. Starr’s watch. Unfortunately, the investigating law firm, Pepper Hamilton, never released a public report on its findings; we’ll never have a crystal clear picture of Baylor’s actions or inaction in the wake of accusations. It’s widely believed in Texas that Baylor, under Mr. Starr’s watch, badly mishandled accusations to avoid scandal and to preserve a successful football team. We do know that there was enough smoke to the fire to force Mr. Starr’s resignation.

I wish that I had more hard evidence of misconduct to provide; the lack of transparency in Pepper Hamilton’s findings prevents this. All I can really point to is the dismissal/resignation of the football coaching staff, the athletic director, Baylor’s Title IX Coordinator, and Mr. Starr himself as a result of the scandal. If I may speak freely, I believe that the University did everything it could to sweep the accusations of assault victims under the rug in the interest of grossly misplaced priorities and that Mr. Starr did little or nothing to stop this behavior. For this reason, I’m disappointed that UNM would issue an invitation to Mr. Starr to serve as a distinguished lecturer.

Eric Vogler

UNM staff member