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UO Releases Public Documents

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EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Oregon has started to release public records requests relating to communications involving the rape investigation surrounding three former basketball players. The students were never charged with a crime.

The records don’t give us much insight because most have been redacted.

KEZI 9 News, along with other local, state and national media requested documents detailing emails shared by university officials, the UO president and a number of athletic officials.

The university sites a number of reasons for the redactions.

In the meantime, there’s been other developments regarding the conversation surrounding response to sexual violence on campus.

When the University of Oregon released its timeline of the rape investigation into three men’s basketball players at the beginning of May, members of the local, state and national media wanted to see if the stories added up. So a number of them filed public records requests.

Those records are beginning to be released, and it’s a rainbow of redactions. The UO Public Records Office says the colors represent different redactions. Ranging from student privacy issues under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, to attorney-client privilege, to the use of personal cell phones.

Only a couple of pages were made public, and that’s an email from the president of the university to the campus community about the alleged sexual violence.

“Anyone who is being investigated under the student conduct code absolutely understands why that is something that is a privacy matter,” said Caroline Forell, Clayton R. Hess Professor of Law.

Forell says the release of these records continues the conversation back to transparency surrounding this issue.

“How long it took for this thing to come out, whether it would have come out at all, and my understanding is that if the police hadn’t released it probably wouldn’t have come out at all,”¬†Forell said.

On Wednesday, the school Senate voted to create its own task force.

“Not so much looking at the specific events that happened, but more with what we were concerned about before these events of how to make this a safe campus for women,”¬†Forell said.

And while these records create more questions, at least for now it would seem answers surrounding the larger problem are taking shape.

That Senate also voted to change the burden of proof when a student is considered for expulsion as well as regulating off-campus behaviors under the conduct code.

The Senate Task Force is separate from President Gottfredson’s panel to examine campus-wide efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence, misconduct and intimidation.

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