From the Register Guard: UO Drops Counterclaim in Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit
|Dear Campus Community,
Today, the University of Oregon was notified about a lawsuit filed by a current student related to a reported incident of sexual misconduct. While unfortunate, this filing is not unanticipated.
The university would prefer not to be in litigation with any student. We have been as respectful and supportive as possible of the student, including immediately implementing support services and appropriately honoring her choice of process, once hearing of her experience.
The university disagrees with the allegations against it and believes that it acted in accordance with the law, including Title IX. This litigation in no way undermines the university’s on-going commitment to support the student inside and outside of the classroom.
It has long been UO’s priority to provide support and services to any student in need and make our campus a safe place for all members of our community. We have regularly reassessed our efforts, implemented changes and added resources to address sexual assault. Our current efforts are guided by recommendations from the University Senate, the President’s Review Panel and a university-wide analysis of prevention efforts, which was coordinated by Student Life. We welcome feedback from the campus on our progress.
To be clear, UO’s review of transfer applications for all students includes an evaluation of academic credentials and potential campus fit. Enrollment decisions are made based on the information made available to us by applicants and our colleagues nationally.
The university has posted a timeline of events, which has been publicly available since mid-May. It outlines the aspects of the university’s response we can share while still protecting the privacy and rights of those involved.
As a community, each of us must work hard to provide support and services to any student in need and make our campus a safe place. Thank you for being part of our community.
University of Oregon and Dana Altman sued over alleged sexual assault – from OregonLive
“I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene… Students, faculty and other community members have been asking some very needed questions of our athletic department, and I am not satisfied with the answers they have provided. I think that we all deserve better explanations and real transparency,”
But she praised the UO Dean of Students office. “They have been very kind and supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not sure I would still be on campus if it weren’t for their help,” she wrote.
“My sincere hope, though,” the young woman wrote, “is that as a school, (the) UO can get through this and come out in a better place at the end. I still love our school and I want it to be the best and safest place anywhere in the country.”
The history of media coverage of sexual assault is steeped in racism. Members of the UO-CESV recognize the history of white supremacist uses of rape and are very concerned about how media attention to this case may be framing our protests and concerns in a way that plays into longstanding racist narratives. It is important to note that this case does not reflect the typical demographics of race and sexual assault and we need to be scrupulous in bringing all perpetrators to justice, regardless of their race, class, or sexual identity.
We are also very conscious of the fact that women of color have been raped with impunity by men of all races. The intersections of racism, sexism, and economic disadvantage have been used to silence their testimonies and deny them justice. Contemporary research illustrates the continued vulnerability of women of color as well as LGBTQ community members to sexual violence, and we need to be mindful of how power imbalances at all levels affect vulnerabilities to sexual violence.
The issue the UO Coalition has been focusing on for many months does not rest on a single sensational case, but rather on how this institution can stop betraying the entire UO community by its actions and inactions. In the days to come, we hope everyone will come together to demand that the UO demonstrate institutional courage and accountability in addressing issues of sexual violence that have long plagued our community. We encourage our community to focus on the big picture – the UO has a longstanding history of engaging in and facilitating oppressive acts at the expense of marginalized groups such as people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community. While the current events are a part of this broader picture, they do not capture or represent the overall problem. We must demand better from our administrators so that all students have the freedom to pursue an education free of violence, discrimination, and hate.