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Slant 7-17-2014

• UO professor and research psychologist Jennifer Freyd (a nationally recognized scholar and a source for our series on campus rape) wrote a July 14 opinion piece for Al Jazeera America, “Official campus statistics for sexual violence mislead.” In it, she discusses the urgency for widespread administration of expert-created campus climate surveys (recommended by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault) — the same type of survey the UO rejected due to Freyd’s potential “bias.” The piece notes these surveys are vital because “Victims of abuse are often reticent about making official reports because they fear the consequences, including being stigmatized or not being believed.” 

Meanwhile at the University of Oregon Confessions Facebook page — which has nearly 15,000 likes — this confession was posted: “I watched a squirrel get raped today. And I didn’t do anything to stop it.” The top comment was “I heard it was consensual until the squirrel regretted it.”

Legalizing weed for recreational use is a brain-boggling topic and it appears many folks don’t know squat about the measure on the November ballot. We’re hoping to clear the fog a bit with a free “Stirring the Pot” panel discussion at 6:30 pm Tuesday, July 22, at Cozmic, 199 W. 8th Ave. The free event is a revival of our popular Brewhaha series that we did in the past with the Oregon Bus Project. How does Oregon’s measure compare to new Washington and Colorado laws? What will be the impact on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program? Why is Big Pharma fighting legalization? What mischief will conservatives in the Oregon Legislature attempt if legalization passes? Bring your questions. Panelists will include Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Anthony Johnson of New Approach Oregon, the group that got the measure on the ballot, and Paul Stanford of the petition drives that did not make the ballot. Did we mention that it’s free?

• The U.S. Supreme Court case decision on religious freedom and contraception might not apply to Hobby Lobby and other closely held corporations in Oregon. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon’s Executive Director Michele Stranger Hunter (and others), the state portion of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was overturned by the high court in 1997 and enforcement is deemed optional at the state level. Hunter’s analysis has not been confirmed by the Oregon Department of Justice and the federal ruling might be seen as a constitutional basis for exemption from state laws. Oregon passed an Access to Birth Control Act in 2007 that requires insurance companies to cover birth control. We’re pleased to see the Hobby Lobby case is stirring a response in Congress. Sen. Jeff Merkley is pushing the new Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, but Republicans are talking filibuster.

• Another anonymous comment about the Eugene VA Clinic came in this week (see last week’s Slant), this time from the wife of a vet who says cataract surgeries are not done locally, but referred to the Roseburg clinic, which has a shortage of specialists and “it takes time for everything.” She says the Roseburg clinic is now contracting out more services in order to shorten non-emergency surgery appointments that were once scheduled eight to 12 months or more out. Even with today’s shorter wait, “there are still numerous phone calls, waiting, they do not seem well organized. My husband called the other day and was told they are still trying to find a provider locally to perform a procedure he needs.” She is looking forward to the new Eugene clinic, which “will be wonderful because vets will finally be able to get X-rays, cataract surgery and urgent care done here, finally.” It appears older vets who have Medicare or other insurance have a lot more options for medical care. Younger, low-income, disabled or sick vets without private insurance are at the mercy of the VA system.