UO settles lawsuit with student over handling of rape allegations

EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon settled a lawsuit with a student who claimed 3 Duck basketball players gang raped her.

The University agreed to pay the student and her attorneys $800,000, as well as provide her with 4 years of tuition, housing and fees, according to the settlment agreement.

The University also agreed to change policies so that transfer students are required to report and disclose their disciplinary history at other schools.

One of the basketball players involved in the incident transfered to Oregon after being investigated for possible sexual misconduct at his previous school.

Police investigated the allegations. The players involved were never charged with a crime.

The investigation came to public knowledge in May 2014 after the district attorney declined to file criminal charges.

The University suspended the players from the team in June 2014.

They were later suspended from the University as part of a student discipline process.

The incident happened March 8, 2014. The woman filed a lawsuit in January 2015.

Hutchinson Black and Cook LLC of Boulder, Colo., issued this statement on behalf of Jane Doe on Tuesday:

“I am so glad to have this case behind me today and to be able to focus on my studies. I am very grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received from students, faculty, and other organizations. The response from the UO community has been remarkable and I know that the increased awareness around these issues on our campus can only serve to help us. I would be remiss to not specifically thank the Dean of Students Office and my therapist from the UCTC and other UCTC personnel for their continued assistance throughout this experience. Without those services, it would have been very difficult to stay in school here during these events and for that I am very grateful.”

University of Oregon Michael H. Schill issued this statement Tuesday:

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

Source: http://www.kval.com/news/local/UO-settles-lawsuit-with-student-over-handling-of-rape-allegations-320646602.html