University of Oregon President Michael Schill has defended the university's handling of a rape allegation against a former basketball player after U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter earlier this month pushing for more information.
The Democratic senator from Oregon had sent a letter to Schill, saying he was troubled by the questions raised in an article published in Sports Illustrated last month. The article casts doubt on whether the university followed its policies on student sexual misconduct when the allegation surfaced in the fall of 2016.
"If these reports are accurate, they raise major questions about the university's commitment to creating and maintaining a safe campus environment," Wyden wrote.
University officials said employees correctly followed policy, which was outlined at length in a response sent to the senator on Monday, The Register-Guard reported .
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The article pointed to a set of written procedures for sexual misconduct cases, which university officials said in their response "are not strict policies that require absolute adherence." Flexibility on these matters is required so officials can "respond to the totality of the information present and the unique circumstances that arise in various cases," they said.
The allegation against the player came out of Wyoming, and it never resulted in criminal charges. Schill said the victim requested that no campus action be taken against the player, and police in Wyoming did not provide the university with enough information to go against that request and start a student conduct investigation.
Schill said privacy obligations extend to all students, including athletes.
"More importantly, the right to privacy and agency of the survivor of a sexual assault should not be eroded because the alleged perpetrator is a student athlete," Schill wrote.