New Mandated Reporting Policies for Sexual Assault at University of Oregon
Is This an Improvement for Victims?
Back in 2014, the University of Oregon was sued by student who claimed to have been raped by three of the school’s basketball players in one instance. The student settled with UO for $800,000, and the school received some scrutiny as to how they handled the situation.
It isn’t clear as to whether or not the specifics of this case have led to the university’s latest policy change, but professors at the University of Oregon are no longer required to report suspicion of sexual assault or rape. While this policy, which is still in place for K-12 educators, was meant to help enforce the law and protect victims, but university officials seem to think it does more harm than good.
Assessing the Decision
While it’s not in the interest of Mitra Law Group to evaluate this decision, but it does raise some noteworthy points of discussion. It seems that the decision to remove the mandated reporting policy is meant to place more power into the hands of victims, in that they can talk to professors and those they see as mentors about their assault, while still leading the pace of when or if they want to press charges.
The obvious concern from a legal standpoint is that sexual assault is a crime, not a civil dispute. If your car is hit while parked, you can choose whether or not to press charges. But criminal offenses such as these need to be filed if prosecutors are ever made aware of them, and it is not up to the discretion of the victim.
Additionally, statistics show that victims of sexual assault are significantly more unlikely to speak out or report them in comparison to victims of other crimes. The mandated reporting policy was set in motion to aid in this reporting frequency and push for a higher enforcement of sexual assault penal codes.
Translating This into the Workplace
On the whole, this policy seems to place more personal accountability in the victim to speak out and make the crime committed against them known. This has always been important, but if workplaces and universities adopt the policy of University of Oregon, then it will be up to the victim as to what happens next. In many ways, this is empowering, but only if victims are able to use that power properly.
Contact the Portland sexual harassment attorneys today at (503) 782-0000 today if you have been victimized by sexual harassment or assault in the workplace or at your university. Mitra Law Group is committed to eliminating these offense and protecting the workforce from threat.