Student’s Rape Lawsuit Settled by University of Oregon

In March 2014, a female student attending the University of Oregon accused three players on the university’s basketball team of rape. Due to the university’s transfer policies, the female student filed a lawsuit against the University of Oregon. On August 6th, 2015, the University of Oregon settled the lawsuit.

During a police investigation following the accusations of rape at an off-campus party, Dominic Artis, Brandon Austin, and Damyean Dotson were suspended. Two months later, the students were removed from the basketball team and suspended from the University of Oregon. However, according to the female student’s attorney, the three students were not criminally charged due to a lack of evidence. Coach Dana Altman was named as a co-defendant on the suit, but his name was later removed from the lawsuit.

The suit against the University of Oregon stated that Coach Altman and other staff recruited Brandon Austin, despite their knowledge that he had been suspended from Rhode Island’s Providence College due to accusations of sexual misconduct.

According to The Register Guard, a spokeswoman for the attorney of the plaintiff stated that the female student settled for lawsuit settlement payment of $800,000, paid tuition for all four years at the university, and a pledge from the University of Oregon to change the way in which the school evaluates transfer students. Attorneys representing “Jane Doe,” the female student, declined to comment further on the settled lawsuit.

When asked to make a statement on the settlement reached on August 6th, University of Oregon President Michael Schill noted that the rape allegations led to the prevalence of mistrust on the campus as well as a division of community. He expressed his hopes that the approval of the settlement would ease the tensions on campus, help students feel more secure against the possibility of experiencing sexual violence, and begin the healing process for all those involved in the case. Schill’s hopes appear to be somewhat realized, as the female student commented that she was pleased to have the case behind her so that she can focus on her education.

Officials representing the University of Oregon stated that the settlement in no way indicates that the university admits to wrongdoing. However, the university is currently hiring new staff and creating new policies and programs to prevent on-campus sexual assault and harassment, according to Schill.