Report: UO cleared sexual assault from former Duck's transcript

The wording of a notation on his transcript was changed to remove mention of sexual assault.

Posted: Dec 12, 2019 6:46 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- An investigative report from USA Today claims that the federal government helped change the language in former Oregon Duck wide-receiver Tristen Wallace's transcript after he was expelled for sexual assault.

According to the report, two women reported being raped by Wallace in the fall 2016 semester to University of Oregon officials. While he was never criminally charged, UO's Title IX investigation found that the women's claims were credible, and he was expelled. 

A notation was left on his transcript making it known to any other school that considered recruiting Wallace that he was "expelled for sexual misconduct," according to the report.

UO student Blake McKay told KEZI 9 News she was raped by Wallace after a date in 2016. She had hoped that reporting Wallace would help prevent him from hurting anybody else. 

"Even though it wasn't my position or responsibility to save other people from this happening too, I'm a person who will always advocate for others, and I wanted to do that so that other people wouldn't get affected by this," she said.

The report said after his expulsion, Wallace's mother filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, claiming that the university had discriminated against her son based on sex. 

USA Today's investigation was reported by former Daily Emerald reporter Kenny Jacoby, who said he was following the story back when he was a senior in 2016. The Office of Civil Rights accepted the case, which he said is representative of the department's views on Title IX since the Trump Administration began.

"Had this case happened a few years before, I think it's safe to say that it would be unlikely that the Office for Civil Rights would have taken his case as a sex discrimination matter. But due to the administration change, they made the choice to give this case some credence," he said. "That gave Tristan Wallace's mother the leverage she needed to force the University of Oregon to remove the sexual assaults from his transcript."

According to Jacoby, the Office of Civil Rights' case brought the university to the bargaining table with Wallace's mother. They agreed to change the notation on his transcript to "expelled for student conduct," removing any mention of the reported sexual assault.

McKay said that UO's resources for sexual assault survivors were helpful, but she was not kept in the loop as the transcript changes were made.

"To me, that means they don't value survivor's opinions or the students who go to that school," she said.

Wallace is now playing football for Prairie View A&M, who signed him even while the sexual misconduct notation was still present. 

According to Jacoby, he was only able to confirm the details of his investigation when a UO professor gave him documents received from a Freedom of Information Act request. When Jacoby tried to get these documents, university officials told him they were unable to. 

When KEZI 9 News reached out to university officials, they said they would not be commenting on this story.

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