Rape accusation against college athletes sparks protest
EUGENE, Ore. - Protesters angered by the University of Oregon's handling of rape allegations against 3 basketball players marched on campus Thursday, shouting slogans like "survivors over sports" and "we want answers."
"I know too many people that this has been a problem for - you know, friends and family members - who've had to deal with this and deal with this same situation of people not listening and then rape culture in general needs to be fought," said student Matika Levy, who took part in the march from Hendricks Hall to Johnson Hall. "I think if we have a student gathering saying 'we are all here' it'll help the survivors maybe feel like she's not alone."
The accusations came to light this week with the release of a police report into the March 9 incident.
The woman involved said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted. The three men said the sexual contact was consensual.
The report became public after the Lane County district attorney declined to file charges, saying not enough evidence existed to prove a crime occured beyond a reasonable doubt.
The University administration has said school officials held off on taking any action at the request of the Eugene Police Department.
The players, who are no longer taking part in basketball activities, went on to take part in the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.
Protesters cited specific complaints, like the University allowing one of the three players to transfer to Oregon while under investigation for sexual assault at his previous school.
An administrator made a short statement to the protesters.
"We heard your question," the unidentified person said. "You want to know how we could let a student come to this campus. We're going to definitely look into that and get back to you as soon as we can."
"We want our students to have a safe campus environment," said David Craig, president of the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation, "and we recognize that the administration doesn't always recognize that or doesn't seem to be prioritizing that enough."
"A lot of us, it took the press letting us know before we even learned and that's ridiculous," said Claire Aubin with the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence, "and I as a student don't feel safe with things like that happening."
According to the University, the woman's father called the University of Oregon Police Department on March 9, the same day as the sexual contact with the 3 men named in the report.
The woman later called Euenge Police on March 13. She told them UOPD had tried to call her twice; she had not returned their calls.
On March 14, a violent crimes detective was assigned to the case and interviewed the woman.
The same day, the University contacted the detective assigned to the case, according to police. The detective did not release names to the University.
A police spokesperson said the department does not know precisely when the detective asked the university to hold off on its investigation but said it was likely during that conversation.
On April 8, the detective turned over the completed investigation to the district attorney.
On April 14, the DA elected not to file charges and the report was released to the university.
On Monday, May 5, the university issued a brief press release saying the three players named in the report "are not currently participating in any team activities."
A copy of the police report was obtained by multiple media outlets and reported the same day.