President Schill’s Q&A with Emerald reporter Kenny Jacoby

8/5/2015: Full interview in the Daily Emerald, here. An excerpt:

Jacoby: You mentioned [in your statement] that you didn’t think any university personnel acted wrongfully. Was the decision to recruit Brandon Austin, who was suspended at a different university for sexual misconduct, a mistake?

Schill: The reason for the settlement was to close the chapter and to move forward. Nothing I say about that matter is going to change anything.

Jacoby: Was the University’s decision to countersue the victim wrong?

Schill: Ditto.

Jacoby: What about accessing Jane Doe’s therapy records?

Schill: Ditto.

Jacoby: Would you have handled the case differently if you were president at the time it happened?

Schill: It’s always easy to second-guess. Ditto.

It’s beginning to look like we’ll still be dealing with this athletic scandal when the next one hits.

But at least he’s talking. Frohnmayer was the last UO president who would regularly answer questions from student reporters. Gottfredson did it once, but got pissy and went back down the bunker when the reporter asked why Dave Hubin was charging student reporters to see public records about their university.

8/4/2014: RG editors call for President Schill to release the records, build some trust. Editorial here:

… If Schill truly wants the university to move past this incident, he should order the release of all records pertaining to the case. If he’s right, those records should support the school’s hard-to-believe claim, for example, that head coach Dana Altman did not know Austin was being investigated for an alleged sexual assault when the athlete transferred from Providence to play for the Ducks. If Schill is right, they should also support the university’s equally hard-to-believe contention that and Athletic Director Rob Mullens did not know the identities of the accused players before the Ducks played in the NCAA Tournament. There are numerous other questions, as well, that the settlement fails to answer for Oregonians who rightly hold the state’s flagship university accountable for its handling of this case.

A decision to make the requested records public could help Schill persuade the university community and others to “move forward” in the aftermath of the case. It would also set a heartening tone of transparency for a new UO president, one that would be a marked departure from the secrecy that has become the disturbing norm at the university for too many years. Schill’s decision to release the settlement document was a good start. Now, he should take the next step.

The university — and the community and state in which it is located — are ready, even eager, to “move forward.” But first they need and deserved the information that allows them to do so in confidence.

Yes. People want to move on because they understand how destructive this has been to UO and they want that over. But they also see this as a powerful event that focused attention and clarified the need for changes in policies and behaviors and beliefs.

I learned so much about what really happens on campus to young women, as a result of conversations sparked by the press coverage – coverage that the UO administration did its best to stop. 

There’s a reason truth comes before reconciliation. Efforts to understand how this event happened, and how UO botched its response, should not end. If nothing else we need to know what went wrong so we do better in the future. As a practical example, what will happen when the next similar incident happens? Will the campus be told, or will we have to learn about it from sports reporters again? 

I don’t think UO can put this behind us while our official response still looks like this:

Update: Ducks, Dana Altman settle basketball rape claim for $940K

Email from loyal UO Matters reader Tobin Klinger:

On TuesdayAug 4, 2015, at 1:19 PM, Tobin Klinger <tklinger@uoregon.edu> wrote:

Bill,

I noticed that you posted President Schill’s letter to campus regarding the settlement agreement. Thank you for helping share the information. 

However, you should know that the settlement will, in fact, be completely covered by the university’s insurance coverage. No funds of the UO Foundation will be involved.

The Register Guard has published this story which may be a helpful reference.

http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33366922-75/the-university-of-oregon-settles-high-profile-rape-lawsuit.html.csp

Thanks

Tobin

That’s good news about the Foundation money. The Diane Dietz story that Klinger points out is indeed helpful and informative, complete with a timeline. The settlement is for $800K plus a four year full-ride scholarship. Let’s call it $940K, or 1 Gott. The settlement agreement with UO is here. In addition to the money, UO agrees to ask a few more questions about Dana Altman’s future transfer players:

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 1.39.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-04 at 1.39.47 PM

Klinger also reports there is no separate settlement with Altman:

From: Tobin Klinger <tklinger@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: Post
Date: August 4, 2015 at 2:53:46 PM PDT

Bill,

There is no settlement with Dana.

Thanks

Tobin

Update: Letter from President Schill:

Dear members of the campus community,

For more than 11 months, our university has been involved in litigation that has fueled mistrust and divided our community. Today I would like to share with you that the University of Oregon has entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiff in the “Jane Doe” matter. In approving this settlement, it is my hope that we focus our attention and considerable expertise on making our campus one on which all students will feel secure in the knowledge that they will be free from sexual violence.

The underlying incident that gave rise to the litigation is an affront to each and every one of us. As president I will not tolerate the victimization of any member of our community. Period.

As an attorney and former law school dean, I want to be very clear about what this settlement means and what it does not mean. I do not believe any of our coaches, administrators, or other university personnel acted wrongfully, nor do I believe that any one of them failed to live up to the high moral standards that we value and that they embody in their work every day. I do believe that we can no longer afford to debate the incident and must instead move forward and implement a comprehensive set of policies to ensure that all of our students will feel secure in the knowledge that they will be free from sexual violence and feel confident should allegations of misconduct be brought forth they will be dealt with fairly, effectively, and expeditiously.

Earlier this month, we took the first action in this new effort to promote campus safety by launching a new search for a Associate Vice President and Title IX Coordinator who will have direct responsibility for ensuring that we have robust and effective programs to prevent, investigate, and address allegations of sexual harassment and violence. The Title IX Coordinator will also help coordinate support services and accommodations for survivors to ensure that effects of the sexual violence are remedied. This position will report to me and to the Vice President for Student Life.

We cannot wait for the new Title IX Coordinator to join us before implementing new programs on sexual violence and harassment. So, we are announcing a set of new investments to hire additional staff (professional and student peers) who will work with our students and existing staff to prevent sexual violence and harassment. We will also add an additional professional who will focus on the investigation of allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Each of these responses is consistent with the recommendations of the University Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support, and the President’s Review Panel. I would like to express my gratitude to the faculty members, staff, outside experts, administrators, and students who served on these two important bodies. Their careful work enabled me to act swiftly upon taking office just last month.

In closing and at the risk of redundancy, I want to be clear. The University of Oregon will not tolerate sexual assault or sexual violence. We will teach our students to respect each other. We will teach them to look out for each other. We will show our students that we have zero tolerance for sexual violence by expeditiously investigating and taking action without sacrificing due process. We will not rest until we succeed.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill, President and Professor of Law

8/4/2015 update: Apparently the plaintiff originally asked for $3M. Presumably the money will come from the UO Foundation’s unrestricted funds, meaning money that could have gone to academics – although maybe President Schill will make the athletic department pay. UO’s insurance will apparently cover most of the legal bills, and all the settlement money. (Sorry for all the weasel words, obviously people aren’t talking on the record.)

Full docket with links to most docs courtesy of RECAPTheLaw, here. Timelines and other info on the basketball gang rape allegations are here. The settlement notice with Altman was posted Friday, today comes the agreement with UO:

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 10.06.05 AM

8/2/2015 updates:

Timelines and other info on the basketball gang rape allegations are here.

See below for updates – including a Klinger quote – and background. It sounds like UO is going to settle also, soon. Good for our new President Michael Schill. Recall that when he was interim President, Scott Coltrane not only wouldn’t settle, he had UO file a countersuit against the survivor of the alleged gang rape. Coltrane also said he thought Gottfredson – who obviously hoped to keep the entire incident secret forever – had done a good job handling it, and that he would handle future incidents much the same way.

No word yet on how much will be paid by insurance, how much by Dana Altman, how much by the Ducks, and how much will be the responsibility of UO’s academic side.

Assuming a $1M payment will end the claims against Altman and UO, the economic damages from this latest Duck scandal will be in the midrange. Mike Bellotti’s secret contract cost Richard Lariviere $2.3M. The Chip Kelly / Willie Lyles recruiting scandal cost Mike Gottfredson about $250K. These estimates ignore the cost of distracting our Johnson Hall administrators from their real jobs, the damage to our academic “brand”, etc.

According to Dana Altman’s current contract here, he has to pay UO $1.5M if he leaves for another coaching job, but my guess is UO will waive that, if he leaves quickly.

Most lawsuit docs here, thanks to Carl Malamud’s wonderfully sneaky RECAPTheLaw.org project. Some other relevant stuff below.

8/1/2015 Jane Doe agrees to dismiss claims against Duck Coach Dana Altman:

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 5.32.51 PM

8/2/2015 update: Top Duck Strategic Communicator Klinger speaks to the RG, but won’t reveal settlement terms:

“We are pleased that the claims against Dana Altman have been dismissed, and we look forward to bringing this matter to a close,” university spokesman Tobin Klinger said in an email. “We cannot make additional statements at this time.”

He declined to say if the dismissal followed a settlement between the student and Altman.

There’s more about UO’s decision to countersue the alleged rape survivor here, Some extracts and Klinger misstatements:

Another 2/23/2015 update: UO student reporter Francesca Fontana has some posts from the petition, some sophomoric BS from $115K Duck PR flack Tobin Klinger, and the cutting response from the plaintiff’s attorney, here:

Samantha Brace, a UO student, wrote, “As a person, I am appalled. As a female student at the University of Oregon, I am outraged. UO is putting them self on the wrong side of history, the student body does not support the legal actions being taken against this woman. Make it known.”

Alumna Diana Salazar wrote, “Stop victim blaming! As an alumna, Im ashamed to have gone here and will reconsider recommending folks to UO.”

University spokesperson Tobin Klinger told the Emerald that the counterclaim is not directed at the plaintiff herself, but rather her attorneys.

“The university is not seeking court costs or attorney fees from a student. Rather, the counterclaim is directed at the Colorado-based attorneys. The goal is to hold the plaintiff’s attorneys responsible for their actions in bringing forth false allegations to leverage a difficult and unfortunate situation for their own financial gain,” he said in an email.

John Clune, the Colorado based lawyer representing the plaintiff responded to Emerald inquiries about the university response with the following statement:

“They need to just stop.  This whole counterclaim was an ill-conceived PR move that has blown up on them.  Since they are finding out that it looks bad to sue a rape victim, they are now saying that it was only intended for her lawyer.  That is obviously not what the counterclaim says.   We genuinely would like to help UO do a better job with responding to campus rape and would love to work together to achieve this but their behavior so far is not encouraging.”

2/23/2015 update: John Canzano calls out UO and Doug Park for “a brush-back pitch against all women on UO campus”, in the Oregonian here:

If you’re a student on campus at UO who reports an alleged sex crime, but the Lane County District Attorney doesn’t file charges, you now know you’ll potentially become a target of the university. You may get sued by UO. You may not be able to get standard care and services on campus. Even if the DA says he believes your account but couldn’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, you’re potentially a target.

Think that fosters reporting? Think that makes women at UO feel safe?

The counter claim seeks legal expenses and a dismissal of the original lawsuit. It’s legal wrangling. Some would tell you this is standard practice in an attempt to have any lawsuit dismissed. But a move like this carries a bigger punch. The university must know that and should have been more responsible with the filing.

I don’t think the general counsel is acting alone here, either. I think Oregon took great satisfaction in throwing a legal haymaker at “Jane Doe” for the trouble she’s caused administrators and coaches. The counter claim is the equivalent of a brush-back pitch to all women on campus.

I’m not much for sports metaphors, but they’re probably the only thing the Trustees who now run our university understand.

In other news, Duck PR flack Jennifer Winters reports in “Around the 0″ that Interim President Coltrane Coltrane wants to update us about his efforts to encourage reporting. Really:

The Campus Conversation and Progress Report on Addressing Sexual Violence is scheduled for Monday, March 2, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Ford Alumni Center Giustina Ballroom.

The forum will include an update from interim UO President Scott Coltrane about the university’s campuswide efforts to prevent sexual assault, improve support services for survivors and encourage reporting.

2/23/2015 update: Tyler Kingkade has a report in the Huffington Post, here:

The “publication of false allegations about Oregon’s handling of a report of an alleged sexual assault creates a very real risk that survivors will wrongly be discouraged from reporting sexual assaults and sexual harassment to Oregon, in direct contravention of the goals of both Title IX and Oregon,” the university’s lawyers wrote in their filing.

Colby Bruno, senior legal counsel for the Victim Rights Law Center, a nonprofit in Boston that provides free legal services to sexual assault survivors, disagreed with UO’s assessment.

“In fact, it’s always the contrary,” Bruno told The Huffington Post Monday. “These types of lawsuits help bring voices to some victims who feel wronged, but were not in a place to speak out about it. These lawsuits often help with reporting, and do nothing to discourage reporting. Furthermore, a university’s reaction like this could actually discourage reporting because the victims on campus do not feel protected by their university if at the first sign of problems, the university lashes out against the victim.” …

UO called Doe’s lawsuit “frivolous” and “unreasonable,” and said the allegations “threaten to harm not only Oregon and Altman but also all sexual assault survivors in Oregon’s campus community.”

John Clune, who is one of Doe’s attorneys and is involved in several high-profile campus rape lawsuits, said he has never seen a university use the type of language that UO did in its counterclaim.

… Other colleges have pushed back in lawsuits against sexual assault survivors, but it’s highly uncommon for schools to go as far as Oregon has and sue the alleged victim. …

2/23/2015 update: Who made the decision for UO to sue the alleged basketball rape survivor?

Looks like it was Interim General Counsel Doug Park, presumably with the consent of Scott Coltrane and his “Executive Leadership Team”:

Doug Park Doug Park
Interim General Counsel
(541) 346-3082
gcounsel@uoregon.edu
Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to President Schill’s Q&A with Emerald reporter Kenny Jacoby

  1. Steve P says:

    About time. No other university would hire Altman with this hanging over him.Now that the boosters have bought off Jane Doe he can move on, and we can restart the search for a coach worthy of America’s most expensive college basketball arena. Go Ducks!!!

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    • The Problem says:

      I think the “Go Ducks” part is what gets us into these situations.
      We win at any cost, moral, monetary, human.

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  2. birdie says:

    Doubtful they paid on this and more likely he’s found a job elsewhere. UO is still on the hook.

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  3. tweetie says:

    There is a new, spot-on RG editorial calling for President Schill to release the public records since he claims no wrong doing, moral or otherwise, by anyone at UO. He might have gone a little far in his assertions in a desire to move on.

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    • uomatters says:

      Thanks – posted.

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    • just different says:

      I wuz thinkin the same thing.

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    • Max Powers says:

      My guess is the settlement agreement has a confidentiality clause and will prohibit release of a lot of material in the case. Having seen settlements like this before, you better believe such a clause is in there.

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      • just different says:

        Yes, but who decides what’s in the confidentiality clause? And why should anything that is properly a public record be covered?

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        • Max Powers says:

          Having worked on a multitude of settlement agreements in my time, I would say that as an overabundance of caution not to violate the terms of the agreement the University would contend most everything is going to remain as locked up as possible.

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  4. Licensed to drive says:

    On the job for just over a month, and Schill’s already taken the big dive to protect Rob Mullens and Dana Altman. What a surprise.

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  5. Ben says:

    I don’t get it.

    “Nothing I say will change anything.”

    You don’t think addressing the concerns of a public with justified mistrust will change anything? Really?

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    • Steve P says:

      “Nothing I say about that matter is going to change anything.”

      Not true. Try saying that it looks like Dana Altman recruited a kid with a record of sexual assault because he was desperate to win a few games in Phil’s shiny new arena and that he and Rob Mullens played the kids after they heard about the alleged gang rape so they could collect their NCAA bonus checks and then that they continued to keep the allegations secret so they could sell some season tickets and quietly pawn the alleged rapists off on other schools. Saying that would change things.

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      • Max Powers says:

        They just entered an agreement that states no party will admit any liability. He is being a good attorney following the agreement as written.

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        • Ben says:

          If he wants trust, then he should instead say “due to the nature the settlement, I cannot comment further,” rather than give a bogus excuse that highlights the mistrust that deepens when hearing such rhetoric.

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          • tweetie says:

            Very true. And he should also stop combining the two issues, sexual violence and public records, into one issue that is now in the past.

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  6. marmot says:

    Schill’s new-president honeymoon officially died at “ditto.”

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    • Sigh says:

      … “Asked and answered…” He must have found the clueless-administrator manual somewhere.

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  7. 'dead duck' says:

    alas! not an aupicious beginning . to move on has advantages, but conceding that mistakes were made would help. and ditto indeed.

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  8. Silenus says:

    Ditto

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  9. 'merica says:

    Ditto? Are you fucking kidding me?

    (Oh, and while I’m here. Strike!!!!)

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