Gottfredson’s sexual assault review panel heard comments from public

The sexual assault review panel convened for a session at 10 a.m., on August 27, in the Ford Alumni Giustina Ballroom to hear comments from the public regarding the means of handling sexual assault.

The panel was created by former University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson to review UO’s sexual assault policies, in the wake of allegations against three basketball players this last spring.

The forum opened with Mary Deits saying the panel wanted to hear what is working and what isn’t working to prevent sexual assault. Then, interim UO president Scott Coltrane spoke, saying he was continuing Gottfredson’s work with the “well qualified and knowledgeable panel.” He added that he had concerns “personally and professionally, as a husband and a father,” and because his own research focuses on gender issues.

Three people spoke about how women’s self defense training is the most effective way to prevent assault.

Sam Cook, a member of the non-profit Warrior Sister Society, said that much preventative education takes too long to get results, while “people are still getting raped.” She said that women’s self-defense training is the most effective way to reduce sexual assaults, and it “puts the power back into the hands of the woman.”

Ryan Kelly, who teaches women’s self defense in the PE program, was frustrated that “most of the time women’s self defense is not even mentioned” when discussing preventative method to reduce assault.

Kelly went on to say research hasn’t proved tactics such as additional lighting, call boxes, or classes to be effective.”The only thing that has shown to make a difference,” Kelly said, “is self defense training for women.”

Kelly cited UO sociology professor Jocelyn Hollander’s research proving that women who learn self-defense are attacked less and are able to resist attacks if they happen.

Several of the speakers stressed the need for more in-depth education in order to counteract the cultural forces that influence sexual assault.

Bonnie Mann, chair of the philosophy department, said that UO must focus on policy instead of just liability. Mann said the intensive “cultural work” needed to change social patterns cannot be addressed in a three-hour workshop. According to Mann, the UO needs students to take a term long course in “sexual ethics.”

Rita Radostitz, Director of Strategic Communications for the Division of Student Life, said that there are too many different programs related to sexual violence, and for sexual assault to lessen, the key is through collaboration.

For Keith Van Norman, marketing manager for the health center, “Don’t rape” posters advertised around campus are enough — and students need to hear what they should do – not just in a time of crises.

“If the only time students hear us talk about sex is after an accusation of rape, these cycles will continue,” Van Norman said. He also mentioned a “wildly successful” smartphone app the health center had developed that provides information about sex.

Another topic addressed at the meeting by Carol Stabile, co-chair of the Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence, is the ongoing issue of a different policy for reporting sexual assault.

Several people also mentioned that education should start before college, so that students can have a better understanding of these issues before they get to college.

Lori Lander, Director of Residence Life, is in agreeance and mentioned that education should start with K-12 students, because “it’s hard to change perspectives” once students reach their college years.

Other issues involving outlets for survivors also came up.

Erin McGladrey of the ASUO Women’s Center said UO needs to have “designated experts on campus to work with sex offenders” who often remain on campus after an incident.

The eight-member panel includes experts in law, higher education, athletics and student conduct. Mary Deits, the chair, is a former Oregon Court of Appeals chief judge.

This was the second time the panel met, but only the first time they received public comment, however, the panel did not respond.

The meeting ran for 50 minutes, with ten minutes left for public comment, but the audience neglected to comment further.

The panel has not yet announced when they will convene again, or when the next chance will be for public comments.

Read more here:
Copyright 2018