UO Professor Freyd’s Op-Ed on sexual violence and institutional betrayal

7/14/2014, In Al Jazeera America:

… It is not trivial to measure sexual victimization or perpetration, because these are stigmatized behaviors. People don’t readily admit to abusing others or being abused themselves. Researchers have worked for decades to discover how to ask behavior-oriented questions that avoid charged language and pick up underlying experience. We are now equipped to assess sexual violence experiences through careful social science survey methodology using a representative sample of students. Eventually these campus violence surveys should be standardized and administered at the same time on campuses across the nation.

However, the first step will be to test various versions of such a survey on individual campuses. This pilot work will provide useful information to the local school and help the national effort to create a standardized survey. Currently, however, those of us researchers willing to perform such surveys are meeting a vast amount of administrative resistance at our universities.

That resistance — combined with a tendency for colleges to retaliate against faculty who speak up about sexual violence on their own campuses — has created a difficult climate for sexual violence researchers.

For example, when I requested help from my university to conduct such a survey, officials turned down my request and then, in explaining that decision, speculated to the press about my supposed bias due to my personal opinions. Those personal opinions were presumably related to my criticism of the university regarding its response to campus sexual violence. This public attack on my reputation and integrity as a scientist was unfounded and irresponsible. Unfortunately, for those of us who have criticized our universities or attempted to collect data about the rates of sexual assault on our own campuses, it’s not unusual. I worry about the chilling effect this sort of institutional response has on individuals who want to speak honestly but lack my job security and credibility.

Each college and university now has a choice: nervously guard its reputation at the profound expense of student well-being or courageously invest in student safety, health and education. College campuses need to know what they are fighting. Enabling the methodical collection of data — and encouraging their transparent distribution and study — will signal to campus communities across the country that institutional betrayal can be replaced by institutional courage.

And a few examples of institutional betrayal:

7/13/2014: Hobart & William Smith Colleges rape investigation:

Another appalling story about how colleges handle rape allegations involving frats and jocks. In the NYT, here.

Also in the NYT:  Indian Girl’s Rape Called Case of Eye-for-Eye Village Justice

Sen. McCaskill releases campus sexual assault survey findings

One of the recommendations is a campus climate survey, along the lines of the one Professor Freyd wants to do at UO. As Steve Duin reports in the Oregonian, UO *really* does not want her to do that survey.

Press release on the McCaskill survey, with link to full results here. Quoting:

Among the findings in McCaskill’s survey:

  • Investigations:  Federal law requires every institution that knows or reasonably should have known about an alleged sexual assault to conduct an investigation. But 41 percent of schools surveyed have not conducted a single investigation in the past five years. More than 21 percent of the nation’s largest private institutions conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents they reported to the Department of Education, with some institutions reporting as many as seven times more incidents of sexual violence than they have investigated.
  • Training:  21 percent of institutions surveyed provide no sexual assault response training at all for members of their faculty and staff.  31 percent of schools do not provide any sexual assault training for students.
  • Title IX coordinator:  Colleges and universities are required to assign a staff or faculty member as a Title IX coordinator, with responsibility for coordinating the institution’s compliance efforts, including investigations of sexual harassment and sexual violence, but more than 10 percent of institutions surveyed do not have a Title IX coordinator.
  • Adjudication:  Federal law requires institutions that receive claims of sexual assault to conduct an adjudication process to determine whether an assault occurred and, if it did, to reach a determination. But:
    • 33 percent of schools failed to provide basic training to the people adjudicating claims.
    • 43 percent of the nation’s largest public schools let students help adjudicate cases.
    • 22 percent of institutions give athletic departments oversight of cases involving athletes.
  • Climate surveys:  Confidential climate surveys of students are one of the best ways to get an accurate portrait of assaults on a campus, but only 16 percent of schools conduct climate surveys.
  • Coordination with law enforcement:  Law enforcement officials at 30 percent of institutions receive no training on how to respond to reports of sexual violence, and 73 percent of institutions have no protocols on how the institution & law enforcement work together to respond to such violence.

Gottfredson: Soft on vampire professors?

7/2/2014 update: The old post below now seems a bit more relevant, given that President Gottfredson apparently assumed he could keep the March 8-9 basketball rape allegations secret while the players potentially transferred to other schools. (The comment from Berdahl and replies are also interesting.)

And here’s another related case, from a reader. Apparently the standards for professors who want to transfer are tougher than for athletes: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/northwestern-professor-accused-of-sex-assault-wont-join-rutgers-faculty/81079

“When Rutgers learned of allegations against Professor Ludlow at Northwestern, the university requested relevant information from Professor Ludlow and his attorney,” Greg Trevor, a Rutgers spokesman, said in a statement cited by the newspaper. “This information was not provided. As a result, Professor Ludlow will not be coming to Rutgers University.”

8/2/2012: When UO hired Lariviere this blog started a policy of giving new UO Presidents a mostly free pass for their first year. That was before I found out about this $350K ($355K, see comments) Beanesque scam by Bob Berdahl, 6 months after I’d been assured that he was without a hint of scandal, and a fighter for transparency and shared governance. Right.

So when Pernsteiner hired Gottfredson I spent hours combing through google news archives, PACER, EDGAR, California court records, and parking tickets, looking for the dirt. Finally a helpful tipster sent in this:

Alors qu’il n’y a eu aucune contrainte ou violence exercée à son encontre, ni d’atteinte (si improbable au demeurant!) à l’“innocence” présumée d’une femme de 27 ou 28 ans, où trouve-t-elle la ressource, comment peut-elle prétendre avoir le droit d’entamer une procédure aussi grave et de mettre en marche une bureaucratie juridico-académique aussi lourde contre un professeur respectable et respecté de tous?

Yeah, my French is pretty petite too – full translation here. It’s a letter from none other than Jaques Derrida, lambasting Mike Gottfredson and Irvine for their treatment of his friend, professor Dragan Kujundzić, an expert in vampire studies who had been accused of sexual harassment.

If you take Derrida’s view Gottfredson viciously hounded Kujundzić out of a job, over trumped up charges that prove Americans’ sexual naiveté. Or maybe Gottfredson compassionately settled a difficult situation by promising to keep the allegations confidential if Kujundzić left UCI, and then like a true idiot Derrida posted them on the internet. Anyway, Florida hired Kujundzić without knowing about his past. His alleged harassment past, that is, I assume his vampire work was on his vitae.

So, other than his arguably ambiguous position on vampire professors, I got nothing on Gottfredson. I even tried Microsoft BING, for christ’s sake. He’s clean. 8/1/2012.

11AM at the Ford Alumni Center: Gottfredson will speak, 2 months to the day after the alleged rape

Update: I’m here w/ about 10 TV cameras, 50 or so reporter types, and another 50 faculty and students. I’ll try and live blog a little, but I’m not I’ve got the stomach for it.

PR flack Toby Klinger introduces the rules. Brief remarks from Gott, followed by Q&A. ONLY 20 MINUTES TOTAL! Crowd giggles.

Gottfredson blames 2 months of privacy on police cooperation, FERPA. He’s still playing with dates – EPD claims they told UO investigation was over 4/8. Gott claims 4/24. Still won’t say when he would have warned campus, if the sports reporters hadn’t broke the story.

“We will appoint an independent panel …” Yup.

11:12, time for questions:

Woolington: Why the gap? Holmes: We started our investigation on the 8th, we couldn’t get it until the 24th?

Q: When were the players suspended? April 30.

Q: Where you and Altman aware at the tournament? A: Didn’t even know which players.

Wollington: Who is paying for the players lawyers? RH: No idea, don’t even know their lawyers.

Q: Why were they kicked off the team? RM: Conduct that we didn’t want out in public.

Q: Why are you hiding behind FERPA? MG: To protect ourselves. Whoops, I mean the students.

Q: Why did you wait so long with no notification? RH: These sorts of things happen all the time, we don’t notify.

Q: What’s the status of the federally required investigation.

Wollington: Why hasn’t the IAC met since since Feb? Gottfredson: I don’t know, ask the Chair. [Bullshit].

Q: Are you going to expel these students? RH: Can’t say.

Q: Is Dana Altman going to be coach next year? RM: Yes.

Q: Gottfredson, did you know the names? A: Yes.

Gottfredson: The safety and security of our students is our top priority [after sports cash, that is].

5/9/2014: 11AM at the Ford Alumni Center KEZI will cover it live.

Rumor is that Altman will be the designated scapegoat. Mistakes were made. Gottfredson will appoint a hand picked team of “experts” to investigate UO’s response and report back during the summer when the students aren’t here.

Or Gottfredson will surprise us, accept responsibility, and resign.

Another rumor is that Mark Yuran quit UO because he wouldn’t go along with the JH cover-up.

Another rumor is that Gottfredson shut down the Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee the day after he realized the rape allegations were going to go public after all.

Protest against sexual violence and UO cover-up, Thursday noon, behind Johnson Hall

Update: Jennifer Fleck has an excellent story on today’s protest in the Daily Emerald. There will be another one tomorrow at 12, in Johnson Hall.

Details to be posted on the UO-CESV website here. Show up and let Gottfredson know how you feel about the assault and his cover-up.

Update: There was a large crowd. 400? We listened to some brief speeches, then marched into Johnson Hall, filling the lobby and steps inside and out the front. A few admins came out and gave the usual non-responses, including re-iterating the FERPA lie. They got nervous and left when they realized people aren’t fooled by that anymore, and that the questions weren’t going away. We stayed in the lobby and chanted for about 30 minutes. Things like “Survivors over sports!” and “What did Gottfredson know?” and “We want answers”. Jennifer Freyd got Provost Scott Coltrane to come out and try again, but he still wouldn’t say anything substantive – probably waiting for his talking points from the new crisis management consultants. Rumor has it Robin Holmes wants to go with RBI strategies again. OK, that’s a joke.

Gottfredson was last seen heading north on I-5, though he did meet with the faculty coalition in the AM, and he’ll be back tonight for a dinner at the Longhouse.

The CESV plan is to go back to JH again tomorrow at noon, and give the administration another chance to explain their cover-up. The lobby has some nice chairs and UO’s best wifi. The perfect place to stake out and do some homework, while you wait to buttonhole your president.

ODE video here.

Gottfredson stonewalls on Duck response to rape allegations, while coaches cash $95K bonus checks

Andrew Greif has the latest in the Oregonian:

EUGENE — University of Oregon officials on Wednesday declined to name which person or department at the university was informed on March 9 about rape allegations against three Ducks men’s basketball players, but both UO and Eugene police said it is common practice for the athletic department to be informed of accusations against student athletes as soon as they are known. …

In between the alleged rape and April 8, Dotson and Artis played in the Pac-12 Tournament on March 12-13 and in the NCAA basketball tournament on March 20 and 22. Six weeks after the end of the season, UO announced on Monday that Dotson, Artis and Austin — a transfer who did not play this season — are currently not taking part in team activities. Austin left Providence College last winter in the wake of sexual assault case against him there.

Also Wednesday, an athletic department official confirmed that postseason bonuses totaling $95,000 were paid in April to the Ducks basketball coaching staff for the team’s performance in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Dana Altman, who has not been made available for comment and has not returned calls, received $50,000, while assistants Kevin McKenna, Brian Fish and Tony Stubblefield received $15,000 each.

More on AD Rob Mullens’ perverse financial incentives to delay telling campus about this here. And an Oregonian editorial here, with the usual hand-wringing about UO’s athletic excesses. This time quite a bit sadder than last year’s “University of Nike” stuff.

UO fights sexual assaults – with website, essays, public records charges?

Diane Dietz has the story in the RG:

“Only one rapist — a person found responsible for rape — was expelled” from the UO between 2009 and 2012, researcher Caroline Heldman said in a recent presentation delivered on the Eugene campus on UO crime statistics, practices and policies.

The UO sanctions “don’t actually treat this like a crime,” Heldman said. “You have a 1 percent expulsion rate for rape, compared with national data that ranges from 10 percent to 24 percent.”

Sexual assault is the hottest topic in higher education this week as the White House launched its own campaign to hold colleges accountable for campus safety. To better inform their argument it might be insightful to check out Ly Lawyers Crime Statistics to give these kinds of crimes an international perspective.

“This has been unfolding at breakneck speed,” said UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd, who has studied the subject for more than two decades and was invited to the White House for its announcement this week. …

While the university also requires all employees to complete the harassment prevention program, Freyd said she has qualms about that training, which is an online module.

“It is not a solution to ignorance to take a passive online test, and, in fact, a lot of people resent it,” she said. “They feel they’re being forced to do something. Information is being stuffed down their throat. They see it as less than respectful and useful.”

For training to be effective, it has to engage recipients intellectually and emotionally, she said.

“This online training is being largely created by insurance companies,” she said. “The problem right now is being addressed as a liability reduction risk management problem. Universities should be focusing on education, not liability reduction, per se.”

The Los Angeles researchers criticized the UO’s general attitude about sexual assault, describing it as a rape-tolerant culture. The 15 to 35 UO students a year found to have committed forcible offenses are suspended for a limited time or forced to write essays, the researchers reported.

UO’s response to this problem has been the typical passive-agressive stonewalling. As one example, President Gottfredson’s office wanted to charge the UO student paper for public records on UO expenditures on prevention efforts, although Dave Hubin gave up on this quixotic effort after some pressure, and waived the $70 fee.

Cheyney Ryan on UO’s sexual harassment training

Law and Philosophy Professor Cheyney Ryan on UO’s sexual harassment training:

The new on-line sexual harassment training, which most people have now completed, demonstrates some of the U of O’s failings in this area. I cite two them; there are others.

1. “Conflicts of Interest/Abuses of Power in Sexual and Romantic Relations with Students”:

This section deals with the U of O policy, first proposed by faculty, then watered down by the administration, then further watered down by Affirmative Action–to the point of gibberish.

According to the on-line training, current policy says two things:

“No faculty or staff member should initiate or acquiesce in/agree to a sexual or romantic relationship with a student who is supervised or evaluated by the faculty or staff member.”


“If a faculty/staff member becomes romantically involved with a student over whom the faculty or staff member has evaluative authority, the faculty or staff member has a duty to report the relationship to his/her department head or the OAAEO, and make prompt, appropriate arrangements to mitigate the apparent or actual conflict of interest.”

Obviously these conflict. How do I “become” romantically involved with a student if I am prohibited from initiating or acquiescing to such a relationship in the first place? “Mitigating” the conflict is beside the point; it should not happen at all. (Hence, the accompanying “scenarios” are beside the point.)

I have a special interest in this as the co-author of the original faculty legislation, which contained no such absurdities. It simply said: Faculty should neither initiate nor acquiesce in sexual/romantic relations with students they supervise.

2. A second problem is even worse.

The on-line training constantly repeats the importance of reporting incidents, starting with student victims of sexual violence. It says nothing about the statutes of limitations for doing so. But this is all important, since a meaningful response requires timely reporting. There were statute of limitations problems in almost every case I encountered, in over thirty years of dealing with these issues at the U of O. Often, the university refused to act because the statute of limitations had expired.

Every faculty member and administrator should know the statutes of limitations for these matters, if the procedures are to work effectively.

Local law firm starts looking into UO sexual assaults

From Dave Hubin’s public records log, here:

Sexual Assault information
Requester: Middleton, Jennifer
Organization: Johnson Johnson & Schaller
Initial Request Date: 03/20/2014
Status: Requesting/Reviewing Records
This is a request, as authorized by the Oregon Public Records law. Documents Requested:(1) True copies of all complaints or other initial contact with university representatives reporting any alleged rape, sexual assault, or any other unwanted contact of a sexual nature.(2) True copies of all reports to any govetnrnent agency, state or federal, regarding incidents of rape, sexual assault, or unwanted contact of a sexual nature, including any report required under the Clery Act and an y report required to be sent to the Chancellor under OAR 580-015-0100.Location Limitation:Please limit these documents to reports of incidents allegedly occurring on the University of Oregon campus and surrounding area, including any dormitory, sorority, fraternity, or other living organization associated with the University.Please include living organizations that do not have a contractual relationship with the University but typically house university students, such as unchartered sororities and fraternities.Time Limitation:Please limit these documents to incidents allegedly occurring or reported betweenJanuary 1, 2007 and December 31,2013.

Mandatory harassment training

10/8/2013: There’s an ongoing debate about the constitutionality of sexual harassment rules and procedures. From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013—The University of Montana’s (UM’s) new sexual harassment policythreatens the First Amendment rights of students and faculty. Drafted in consultation with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the policy was approved by the agencies last week. Faculty members are also alarmed that a list of faculty who refuse to attend the university’s trainings on the new policy will be reported to the federal government. 

“Not only has the federal government approved an unconstitutional speech code, it has demanded a list of the names of faculty members who don’t attend a training session about it,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Worse still, students and faculty may face discipline even if they are cleared of harassment and discrimination charges. Couple these flaws with broad, vague definitions, and the result is that UM has vast discretion to silence students and faculty members, to the detriment of fairness, clarity, and free speech.”

It will be interesting to see how UO’s new training addresses these issues. The announcement went out today:

Dear Colleagues,  

Next month the University of Oregon will introduce a new online Preventing Workplace Harassment training that will be required for faculty and staff, including GTFs, and strongly encouraged for student and temporary employees.  

The program will be available online beginning mid-October to better inform our faculty and staff about behaviors that constitute prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment. The goal is to clarify employees’ understanding of reporting responsibilities as it relates to harassment and to raise awareness about our obligation to report credible information regarding incidents of prohibited discrimination, including sexual violence, which encompasses sexual assault, partner or dating violence, and gender-based stalking.  

This training is important for all of us who work in the UO community. Increased awareness can stop inappropriate behavior, prevent its recurrence and foster a more supportive community. Under federal law, educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance are required to train their employees to know how to identify and report sexual harassment and sexual violence. This new online training will help to ensure that we are appropriately educating faculty and staff about these issues.  

Members of the university leadership team have been working on this program for the last year, and have collaborated extensively with the Faculty Advisory Council and Executive Leadership Team on its development.  

The training is approximately 90 minutes long and all employees are expected to complete the training by March 30, 2014. Going forward, it will be required every three years.  

More information about the program will be available in the coming weeks. Please look for that information and make this training a priority.  

Thank you for your attention to this important responsibility.  

Scott Coltrane, Interim Senior Vice President and Provost

Sexual assault reporting

11/5/2012: The ODE reports on UO’s new draft policy for reporting sexual assaults. Story by Josephine Woolington, first in a series.

The tradeoff? If you guarantee victim anonymity you will get more complete reporting, but also more false positives, and cases will be more difficult to prosecute. Ultimately, it would be interesting to see whether this would have an impact on reports of sexual assault in the area and whether these changes would lead to an increase in false allegations.

Put simply, a false allegation of sexual assault can be devastating. Allegations of sexual abuse are a nightmare scenario for anyone and are something for which no one can prepare. Unfortunately, there are many situations and circumstances that can lead to these types of falsified claims. For example, there can be incidences of consensual contact that are mischaracterized after the fact as sexual assault; misidentification by an alleged victim; or even malicious intent on the part of the alleged victim.

It is for these reasons that anyone accused of sexual assault should start protecting their livelihood and planning for a defense case as soon as they suspect they are being investigated. Moreover, retaining an experienced criminal lawyer that can help the accused through the defense process at all stages of the proceedings is strongly recommended. You can find more information about the advantages of working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer that specializes in sex crimes on the website for this team of bucks county criminal attorneys.

That is not all though. Woolington reports that the new policy requires mandatory reporting and all but removes anonymity. UO has never published a coherent policy on sexual assaults, despite the Title IX requirement. Our General Counsel’s office has been too busy doing pro bono work for the Athletic Department on their NCAA recruiting violations, I guess.

Last year the US Department of Education issued a controversial policy letter on how colleges should handle sexual assaults, weakening evidentiary standards and extending reporting deadlines. Presumably the new UO policy will include these changes. The Chronicle has an analysis here. One scathing letter on the practical consequences of the policy changes, from an administrator who deals with these issues daily, is here. Insidehighered.com has a rundown on some other opinions, pro and con, including a letter from the AAUP, here. Has the UO administration consulted with the Senate on these policy changes? No sign of it on the UO Policy Statements page.

sexual harassment in philosophy

9/8/2011: A law professor closely involved with the case sends this update on the sexual harassment situation in philosophy:

Due to some probing by the Eugene Weekly, Russ Tomlin has already retracted a central claim in his statement about the Philosophy Department sexual harassment situation.

On 8-11, Tomlin told the Weekly that allegations of sexual harassment in the Phil Dept were unfounded because “no grievance or complaint was filed by any alleged victim.” But on 8-25, Tomlin retracted this claim, after being challenged by a reporter at the Eugene Weekly. He acknowledged that there was at least one complaint, but it was filed beyond the statute of limitations. “It was a timeliness question,” he stated–correcting his initial statement. 

There is a world of difference between claiming that there were never any complaints at all and claiming that the complaints were discounted on technical grounds. (In fact, there were two complaints filed.) The first implies that the commotion in the Philosophy Department was all caused by “rumors”—this is what Tomlin stated, in his press release on the matter; the second implies nothing of the sort.

The bigger question is: why is Russ Tomlin makes any pronouncements at all to the press about confidential matters like a sexual harassment case?

Some links to the background on this are here.