Senate to vote on mandatory sexual violence prevention courses Wednesday?

If Gottfredson had come clean about the alleged March 8-9 assaults back in April when he got the final EPD report, we could have had time to think and prepare. But instead of informing the Senate, he went to his Athletic Director. We found out the same way the UO Police Chief did – from the newspapers. So this motion will be on the already packed agenda for May 28:

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED THAT the University of Oregon Senate, in consultation with Undergraduate Council, work on the addition of a mandatory Multicultural course for Undergraduate students on the topics of gender, sexuality, social inequality, and sexual violence; and

2.2 BE IT FURTHER MOVED THAT the contents of the course are constructed with consultation from the Head of the Ethnic Studies Department (or their designee) and the Head of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department (or their designee); and

2.3 BE IT FURTHER MOVED THAT this course requirement be implemented no later than Fall 2016.

Undergrad Council Chair Josh Snodgrass (Anthropology) has written the Senate tonight, explaining the reasons for giving this important proposal full consideration and deliberate discussion – not something that can be done tomorrow:

Dear Senate Members,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Undergraduate Council about the proposed motion (4.12) to add a new multicultural course requirement to the undergraduate curriculum.

I was unable to attend the May 21 Senate meeting but watched the video of the meeting. I was troubled by the repeated references to the inability of UO committees—including the Undergraduate Council, which I chair—to effectively perform their duties. I am certainly aware of times when committees are overly bureaucratic and inefficient, but the current matter (i.e., considering whether to add a multicultural requirement on gender, sexuality, social inequality, and sexual violence) is not one of them. I was first made aware of the proposal to add a multicultural requirement on May 19 (by Helena Schlegel, who asked me about the process for adding a multicultural requirement) and no formal request has yet been brought to the Council. Given that nothing has been brought to the Undergraduate Council it borders on the bizarre to discuss our failures.

Like all of you, I am deeply troubled by recent events and the repeated campus failures on issues related to sexual violence. I agree that we need action and that this action should be on multiple fronts. However, I do not support the proposed new multicultural requirement. My objections are as follows:

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Senate to vote on major changes to Student Conduct Code at May 28th meeting

5/27/2014 These are significant changes to the student conduct code. They are important and needed and some parts will be controversial. This post is worth reading in full, especially if you are a voting member of the Senate. 

The USDOE Office of Civil Rights recommended changes to student conduct codes in 2011, but VPSA Robin Holmes dropped the ball, busy with other things. On May 14th President Gottfredson told the UO Senate we were to blame for the delays in fixing the student conduct code. But the truth is the administration fumbled this badly. Carl Yeh, Gottfredson’s Director of Student Conduct, told UO he was leaving for OSU in August 2013. The UO administration did not get a new Director until March 31st 2014. The Director is an ex-officio administrative appointment to the Student Conduct Committee, and the convenor. Sort of hard to hold a productive meeting without a Director, given that he’s the convenor. For a matter this important Holmes should have stepped in herself. Instead she hired a consultant and then sat on his report for 6 months, apparently without even convening the committee.

After the March 8-9 basketball rape allegations finally became public May 5, UO Law professors John Bonine and Caroline Forell stepped in. They have done an amazing amount of work over the last few weeks to try and get a revised code in place before the new students arrive in September. All in all there will now be 4 motions on the table for the Senate meeting this Wednesday, 3PM, 115 Lawrence, along with a full slate of other business. Three relatively minor ones come from UO’s new Director of Student Conduct Sandy Weintraub, the last is from Bonine and Forell, and it has also been reviewed by Weintraub.

4.8       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Change to Student Conduct Code to Standard Preponderance of Evidence; Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee (Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards)

4.9       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Change to Student Conduct Code to Extend Jurisdiction Off Campus; Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee (Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards)

4.10     Motion (Legislation): Proposed Change to Student Conduct Code Regarding Definition of Words; Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee (Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards) [Suspension of the Rules]

4.11     Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct; John Bonine, Professor (Law) [Suspension of the Rules]

These 4.11 revisions significantly expand the protections for those making accusations of sexual assault to level the playing field, and they make many other significant changes as well.

For background, Bonine and Forell’s video summary from the 5/21 Senate meeting is here:

Bonine and Forell’s detailed 5/22 explanation for the need for the revisions is here. New UO Ombudsman Bruce MacAllister has written a lengthy, thoughtful memo about the first draft of these revisions, here, endorsing some and criticizing others. Strangely, there has been no word from UO General Counsel Randy Geller’s office. Geller announced his resignation hours before the rape allegation story broke, and while he’s still on the books as GC until June 30th, no one has seen him since.

Below are the most significant revisions, from my initial read. However I strongly suggested reading the full proposal here, instead of my hack job post.

Bonine and Forell have highlighted the parts relating to sexual assault and violence in yellow, to make that easier. Additions are in red with brackets, strikeouts for deletions, blue for explanations from Bonine and Forell, and green for comments from Sandy Weintraub:

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