By STEPHEN GALLOWAY (@sgalloway17)
Photo credit goes to sfgate.com.
If anyone has been paying attention to the current social climate of colleges across this country, they are well aware of the crisis of sexual assault.
A current college student, I have been consistently reminded of sexual assault throughout my brief time in college. If a student has paid the slightest attention to any sexual assault awareness across his/her campus, he/she is conscious of the fact that one out of every four women are sexual assaulted during their time at college.
Few of these women report these crimes, and even fewer are able to see their abuser punished. Frankly, it is a shame that we let these crimes occur not only on our college campuses but in our society.
But Thursday morning, we took a big step in eradicating this problem when Baylor University fired its head football coach, Art Briles. We should all thank Baylor for this massive step in the right direction.
I am not saying that Baylor wasn’t in the wrong in the dealing of these sexual assault cases, because they definitely were. In fact, the report produced by the law firm Pepper Hamilton found that many members of the university administration thought sexual assault did not happen at Baylor; they consistently participated in actions that could be described as ‘victim blaming.’
But this firing was a crucial step in the right direction. If someone does not follow college football, they might not understand how important Art Briles was to Baylor University and Baylor football. Simply, Art Briles made Baylor football relevant.
Before Briles arrived in Waco, Texas, eight years ago, the Baylor Bears were the laughing stock of the Big XII conference. If an average team saw Baylor on its schedule, it could pencil in a “W” in the win column. When Briles came into town, everything for the program and the school changed.
He compiled an impressive 65-37 record, produced an electrifying Heisman winner and ushered in the building of a grandiose new football stadium. Art Briles was the face and the mastermind of Baylor football, but all of the accomplishments and awards were nullified when Briles attempted -- on numerous occasions -- to cover up the sexual assault allegations of his players.
When Baylor fired Art Briles, it placed the law over wins.
It placed humanity over profits.
It placed justice over reputation.
Though this is a great step in the right direction, much still has to be done to fix this problem. Colleges have to become better at reporting these abuses and providing proper resources for victims. Athletic departments must continue to change the culture in regards to tolerating sexual assault, and we as a society must drive into the minds of our young people -- relentlessly -- that sexual assault is wrong in all circumstances.
To the people in Waco, Texas, and Baylor University, thank you for making the right decision and showing everyone that ethics are far more important than wins.