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Slant 5-8-2014

UO athletics and the broader university got another black eye nationwide this week with the story about three Duck basketball players accused of rape. The police report goes into disturbing details, but Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin will not be prosecuted — not enough evidence to convict. We agree with the powerful and angry response from the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence, citing “institutional betrayal” of survivors and “lack of institutional control” over athletics. “We are beyond frustrated that the UO has failed to prevent acts of violence like this from occurring on our campus,” reads a statement from the group this week. “For several years, faculty, staff and graduate students have expressed their concerns about campus sexual assault policies.” The group is calling for greater accountability and is seeking a public meeting to discuss the Student Code of Conduct and “the way in which UO itself is handling this investigation.” A protest is being planned at noon Thursday, May 8, on the lawn behind Hendricks Hall on campus. Find the group’s website at wkly.ws/1qv.

• Two cheers for Mayor Piercy, city of Eugene administrators, Lane County officials, leaders of both the Farmers Market and the Saturday Market for working together toward creating an important expanded outdoor-indoor Farmers Market on the site of the old “butterfly lot” at 7th and Oak. We love it. We appreciate the heavy lifting in this collaboration. Whether the city should swap part of the present City Hall block with the county for the “butterfly” is not so clear. This proposal clearly begs our community and city councilors to look again at what we’re doing down there. Why not sell the present City Hall to a development group to repurpose it, even use it for commercial space with all that great parking already there? Why not save millions in demolition costs, parking costs, etc., by building a new City Hall elsewhere? What about the north quarter of the “butterfly lot” for a new City Hall or county courthouse that goes up, not out? And what are your questions, please?

• We hear longtime medical marijuana activist Jim Greig is not doing well and might not be with us much longer. Greig suffers from debilitation arthritis and lung cancer and has found significant relief from his pain with medical pot. Even in a wheelchair and now in bed he has been a passionate pot activist for 10 years, organizing local events and state ballot measures. In 2012 he was heavily involved in campaigning for Ellen Rosenblum in her race against Dwight Holton for attorney general. We hope he makes it through this latest health crisis. We send him our gratitude and we salute his legacy of compassion and action.

This May Primary is a bit disturbing. Not much on the local ballot other than the three critical Lane County Commission races and some school bond measures. Not a lot of passionate debate, not much advertising, not many lawn signs, no big student get-out-the-vote campaigns. Why the lack of candidates? Public service through elected office is a noble American tradition, but we can’t help but wonder if there’s a connection with the conservative agenda of building mistrust in government. Note the rise of the “sovereign citizen” movement, an extreme right-wing mindset that believes government has no authority. Such attitudes feed on ignorance and fear and the best remedy is for people of conscience to rise up, get educated on the issues, run for public office (or help someone else get elected) or at least vote. See our endorsements this week.

Mother’s Day is Sunday with the usual family gatherings, flowers and fancy restaurant brunches, but after the celebrations it’s time for another beautiful thing, the Million Mom March. The gathering begins at 2 pm at EWEB Plaza with brief talks about “creating a more peaceful world with less gun violence.” This year a bagpiper will lead the march across the DeFazio Bike Bridge to the new Nobel Peace Laureate Park. Betsy Steffenson has been organizing this annual event for many years and it began as a response to the Thurston High School shootings in 1998. Americans own more guns now than ever before, and we still lack meaningful regulations. To help with the event, email Steffenson at mmm@efn.org.

Prayers are now OK at the beginning of official public meetings, such as city council meetings, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court. But maybe we should save the prayers for our Constitution.