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Profs Take UO President to Task for Victim Blaming

The UO has dropped its countersuit against the student who says three UO basketball players raped her. According to the R-G, interim President Scott Coltrane said, "that the UO heard from 'many different people on campus, and we really wanted to get away from this distraction.'” 

A petition calling for the UO to drop the suit garnered more than 2,000 signatures in less than a week.

The court document, available here, says that the university is no longer countering the victim’s lawsuit and is not asking the student, or her attorneys, to pay for the UO's attorney fees and costs related to the case.

In response to the UO's amended response filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, UO professor John Bonine, Jennifer Freyd and Carol Stabile sent a letter to Coltrane, taking him to task for victim blaming  and using language claiming "the survivor's lawsuit will hurt other survivors."

Dear Scott,

We appreciate the steps you took in getting the counter claim dropped. It has already had disastrous consequences on the University community.

But while the University has dropped the counterclaim, its amended response kept some of the worst language. Paragraph 102 of UO’s new response still retains some of the most victim-blaming language, namely the language claiming that the survivor’s lawsuit harms other survivors.

In addition paragraph 102 continues to include the original response’s claim that the lawsuit will “convey” a message to the public in order to “demonstrate the high priority Oregon gives to Title IX.” Someone has confused a legal filing with a press release.

A response to the court is no place for public relations talk about the University’s supposed devotion to women and Title IX. It is a place to admit or deny factual allegations. The University cannot claim that it is devoted to survivors while at the same time saying that a survivor’s use of legal remedies will chill reporting by others.

John, Jennifer, and Carol