Ducks, Inc.: UO Faculty Senate discusses student-athlete random drug testing

University of Oregon Faculty Senate convened for the first time this academic year. I decided to go after peeking at the agenda and seeing an item for Oregon Administrative Rule 571-004-0020 allowing truly random drug testing on student-athletes.

Members of senate discussed whether or not the policy should have been approved by them before being enacted this past August. The policy was ruled to be temporarily active until the end of February by UO General Counsel Randy Geller, but some senators believe that the rule is an academic policy.

“I’m concerned about the process,” said Frank Stahl, biology professor emeritus. “The process outlined in the University’s constitution should be respected.”

Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Gary Gray said the athletic department has wanted to expand its athlete drug-testing policy for sometime now but was only made possible by a “recent” court decision. He also said this temporary policy is “inline with 95 percent of [the University’s] peer institutions.

“The NCAA has not mandated the institution institute random drug testing,” Gray said. “They have their own random drug testing, which is fairly infrequent, and is more for performance enhancing drugs. We feel like we want something that’s steady throughout the year and the summer that benefits the student’s welfare.”

There was a brief back and forth over whether or not the policy should be considered academic and what course of action the senate should take.

The body concluded its discussion of the rule by passing a motion to send the issue to the Senate Executive Committee — chaired by Senate President Robert Kyr — in order for the committee to hand down a recommendation of action for the senate. Before being passed by vote, the motion was amended to recommend the UO administration not pass the rule into permanence before the senate approves and takes action.

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Sam Stites

Sam Stites