A student at the University of Oregon who says she was raped by three basketball players in March wrote an open letter to the campus on Thursday, reports the Daily Emerald, the university’s student newspaper. It is the woman’s first statement on the allegations that have rocked the campus, resulting in the players’ dismissal from the team and two federal complaints filed against the university.
The woman, who remains anonymous, says she was raped by the players on March 8. Ten days later, The Wall Street Journal reported that one of the players, a transfer student, was still being investigated for an alleged sexual assault that took place at Providence College in November, an incident that resulted in his suspension and transfer to Oregon. In April the Lane County district attorney’s office said that there was not enough evidence to prove criminal conduct in the Oregon case, and that it would not press charges. The three players were suspended from the team on May 5.
In Thursday’s letter the woman praised the university’s dean-of-students office for the support it has given her, but said she was troubled by the culture of the university’s athletic department. “I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students,” she wrote.
The university has said that it asked the local police on March 17 whether the athletes should be kept from playing in the NCAA tournament, and that the police responded that it should not do anything to alert them to the investigation, The Oregonian reported.
In the same week in May, two federal complaints were filed on the issue: one by a professor that accused the university of violating the Clery Act by not properly documenting the rape allegations; and one by a former Eugene City Council member who said the university had violated the players’ right to privacy and had irreparably harmed their reputations.
Critics, including the female student, have accused the university of a lack of openness regarding its response to the allegations. On Friday The Register-Guard reported that the university had redacted 34 of 35 pages provided to the newspaper in response to an open-records request. The university cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to justify its redactions.