RG reports UO knew investigation was closed a month ago

A thorough report by Diane Dietz, here:

… “The university received the police report on April 24, after the criminal investigation was complete and the (Lane County) district attorney declined to prosecute,” Klinger said. “Due to federal privacy laws, the university cannot provide further details regarding its actions at this time.”

Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said later Tuesday evening that police notified the university that it had completed its criminal investigation on April 8 — more than two weeks before Klinger said the university received the police department’s report on April 24.

McLaughlin said police were not concerned about who participated in the NCAA basketball tournament as it conducted its investigation.

The university, to date, hasn’t released any information about when or if the players will be investigated under the university’s student conduct code, or what the university is doing for the unnamed female who is at the center of the incident.

The UO administration needs to “be super-accountable,” said UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd. “Apologize profusely for the harm and say openly that we have a problem that we need to address together, and not give platitudes and not claim everything’s OK. To me, that adds injury. That’s part of the betrayal.”

Freyd, who was in Washington, D.C., last week for the White House announcement, is a member of the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence. The coalition, made up of dozens of professors and graduate students, formed last year out of concern about how the university is responding to reports of rape. The coalition announced Tuesday that it plans to stage a campus rally against sexual violence on Thursday.

In an open letter released Tuesday, the coalition said it is “beyond frustrated” that the university has failed to prevent such acts of violence. They say they get reports of many such incidents that don’t involve high-profile students.

The actions of the UO athletic department and administration give the impression that winning basketball games is more important than protecting students, the coalition’s letter asserts.

“The timing of this all raises very deep concerns about who knew what when,” Freyd said. “And if things were not known, why not?”

As acknowledged by the university on Tuesday, two of the basketball players participated in the NCAA tournament even after university officials were made aware of the alleged sexual assault.

“They knew they were being investigated for a terrible crime? And they didn’t suspend them from the team?” asked UO law professor Caroline Forell, a member of the coalition.

The Ducks picked up Austin this school year — after he was suspended indefinitely from Providence College in Rhode Island after he and a teammate there were accused of sexual assault.

Robin Holmes, vice president for student affairs, released a statement in which she criticized the coalition’s assertions, saying they are deterring students from coming forward if they have been harmed.

“The assertions are also perpetuating the notion that the UO is not a safe place to receive help, (which) could be potentially silencing to survivors,” Holmes said.

Carol Stabile, a coalition member and director of the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies department, said the university’s insistence on silence is hurtful.

“The silence is about making it something that’s shameful and that’s individual and that’s your fault,” Stabile said. “It really encourages people to blame themselves for situations that are not of their own making.

“When I read the (police) report, I thought, ‘How could anyone think that what they were doing to her was OK?’” Stabile said.

I don’t think UO spokesperson Toby Klinger and President Gottfredson are telling the truth when they claim federal privacy laws prevent UO from talking about the situation:

Dear Mr. Klinger –

I read your statement in the ODE article by Ian Campbell, at http://dailyemerald.com/2014/05/06/oregon-issues-statement-saying-it-first-learned-of-rape-allegations-march-9/

You say “Due to Federal privacy laws, the university cannot provide further details regarding its actions at this time.”

I do not think this is correct. The Office of Civil Rights guidelines are at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.pdf

They provide some potential restrictions on how FERPA could conceivably restrict the release of information that might identify a victim, but otherwise they appear to give you substantial freedom to release information in this sort of case, and even encouragement to do so.

I hope that you will look into this and if appropriate correct your statement and be more forthcoming. UO looks plenty bad already, this secrecy makes things worse – particularly if it is not actually required by law.

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2 Responses to RG reports UO knew investigation was closed a month ago

  1. Where were the adults? says:

    Cashing their paychecks and collecting their bonuses.

  2. Gott Guts? says:

    The kneejerk reaction from this University on anything controversial regarding students is to hide behind FERPA and privacy laws. It seems they don’t really understand the laws but if the goal is obfuscation they don’t need to.