“El Jefe” Coltrane imposes student conduct changes

Colleagues,

The University of Oregon has made preventing and responding to sexual assault a top priority. We are reviewing our practices, have added resources, and are hiring staff to strengthen our prevention efforts.

Universities everywhere are struggling to educate students about how to stay safe, what to do if they are sexually assaulted, and how to demonstrate respect for each other.

The University of Oregon is committed to becoming a model campus for preventing and educating students about sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, too many students are being assaulted. One of the university’s best tools to keep students safe and deal with offenders is the student code of conduct.

Later today, I will ask the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon to strengthen our conduct code with several important modifications. Some of these updates were approved by the University Senate at the close of spring term, and others are temporary measures to bring our code in line with recent best practices endorsed by the White House Sexual Assault Task Force.

The permanent senate-endorsed changes include expanding the jurisdiction of the conduct code, changing the definition of “sexual misconduct” to require explicit consent, and changing the standard of proof in all cases to a preponderance of evidence.

The temporary changes I am asking the board to consider include deleting language in the code that stalls the conduct process during breaks between terms or when a student is not registered, requiring all cases be resolved through administrative conference rather than a panel, allowing the right to an appeal in all cases, and reducing the number of days an accused student has to respond to conduct charges from 14 days to 7 days.

Again, these measures are designed to align our policies with federal laws and regulations for this year, but are temporary in order to protect our students while still allowing for thorough consultation before permanent changes to the code are made.

It is important to take these issues to the board now, before students return to campus. Our overarching goal is to create a safe campus climate for all UO students, where all feel welcome and respected. I welcome input from the entire campus community as we consider permanent changes to the conduct code and to our educational efforts surrounding this larger societal issue. We are committed to ending sexual assault and I invite you to help us eradicate unwanted sexual behavior on our campus.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane
Interim President

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9 Responses to “El Jefe” Coltrane imposes student conduct changes

  1. Scott says:

    “require explicit consent”

    The future of foreplay: bureaucracy.

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  2. Been Assaulted says:

    I am very happy to see this message from the Pres. A drunk person can’t give consent, and there’s no “foreplay” in assault or rape.

    Since we are entering that period of time when freshmen women are most likely to get assaulted, I’m thrilled that Scott is putting something in effect before the week of “welcome.”

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    • uomatters says:

      Yes, and Robin Holmes was supposed to make that change to the code 3 years ago.

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    • anon says:

      So if both parties have had any amount to drink, then both will be punished as neither one can consent?

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  3. Enough Already says:

    Yes she was. She did not. For this, and oh so many other things, she really needs to have her job performance reviewed. I trust El Jefe is going to do that. But as for this announcement from The Prez I say “great”. Finally some action and enough talking. This does take into account the Senate’s actions in the Spring. Does it go far enough? Maybe not. But it is a good move in the right direction.

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  4. Student says:

    Any talks of when the student member will join??

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    • uomatters says:

      ASUO Pres Bea Guttierez was invited to the table for the academic affairs committee meeting, which was a good sign. I’ve got a PR request into the HECC for info about the appointment, should have some docs soon.

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  5. Marshall Fielding says:

    From now on underwear will be worn on the outside, so we can check:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV4N2dk0cMk

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  6. It’s unbelievable. After spending over $100,000 in legal fees after the University of Oregon brought me on on baseless student conduct charges, rather than reforming the system that would both better protect the accused and survivors and victims, the University instead errs on the complete opposite side.

    So, under this system, within 7 days of being accused, a student is expected to find and consult an attorney and have them become available for an “administrative conference”?

    And, despite the fact that the confrontation clause of the Constitution doesn’t apply here, I think there is still an important moral principle to allow people to confront their accusers face to face. The panel hearings have 100% conviction rates anyway. Still, the principle remains important.

    When we consider that even the lower bound estimates of false reports of sexual assault are between 2% and 8%, I’m concerned that innocent students could be expelled and have their careers ruined over nothing.

    I fully support efforts to revise the student conduct code to better protect survivors/victims as well as accused students. However, this seems to another failure on behalf of the administration.

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