*** Please join UO-CESV to raise our voices against this most recent instance of sexual violence at noon on Thursday, May 8, 2014, on the lawn behind Hendricks Hall.
The UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence expresses its deepest sympathy to the survivor whose reports of sexual assault have recently surfaced. We are devastated by this most recent report of rape on our campus. We grieve for this young woman and her family, as we have grieved for so many women who have been victims not only of sexual violence, but of institutional processes that privilege the rights of alleged perpetrators over the rights of those who have been victimized. We apologize to her and her family for the acts of violence that have occurred during her education, an experience that should be safe and equitable.
We are beyond frustrated that the University of Oregon has failed to prevent acts of violence like this from occurring on our campus. For several years, faculty, staff, and graduate students have expressed their concerns about campus sexual assault policies. As individuals and as members of groups, we have written emails, sat in meetings, and met with survivors of rape and harassment. This past winter, and in light of proliferating evidence of the University of Oregon’s institutional betrayal of survivors, we organized ourselves as the University of Oregon Coalition to End Sexual Violence (UO-CESV) in order to mobilize to address the rape supportive subcultures that exist on college campuses around the country and to create a sense of urgency around addressing sexual violence on our campus.
But we have not been able to move quickly enough. While the UO claims to foster a safe and equitable educational experience and to respond with the utmost seriousness to sexual violence, cases like this most recent one illustrate the dysfunction within our campus community, the ineffectiveness of our local law enforcement, and the apparent lack of institutional control over our athletics department.
For too long, we have been falsely assured that the university responds swiftly and effectively to survivors. For too long, we have been told that the university “has established internal conduct processes for handling misconduct allegation.” When we raised issues about serial perpetrators, we were told that the university had no evidence about these. When we talked about institutional betrayal, we were repeatedly told by UO administrators that the people they meet with have uniformly positive experiences of the process. We are angry and bitter that this institution has betrayed our trust. When our institution is more interested in winning ball games than protecting students, that is institutional betrayal. This type of betrayal harms us all.
It’s time to hold UO accountable. UO-CESV is calling for an investigation of the process whereby a basketball player who had been suspended along with another student for “not upholding their responsibilities as student-athletes” was welcomed into the UO community. We want a public meeting to discuss the Student Code of Conduct and the way in which UO itself is handling this investigation.