Psychology professor’s complaint says University of Oregon violated Clery Act in assault allegation
Psychology professor Jennifer Freyd has filed a complaint with the US Department of Education, alleging that the University of Oregon violated provisions of the Jeanne Cleary Act in its handling of an alleged sexual assault that occurred in March, The Register-Guard reports.
The law regulates the investigation and publication of crimes on college campuses that receive federal funding. Freyd’s complaint alleges that the university broke the law by failing to alert the university community or include the incident in police logs. That would be a violation of a provision in the law stating that sexual offenses, among other crimes, must be reported in a timely manner.
The alleged assault occurred the night of March 9 and involved three Oregon men’s basketball players: Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin. It was reported to UOPD when the survivor’s father called it in on the same day. No Campus Crime Alert was sent to students regarding the incident.
UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed told The Register-Guard that no initial campus warning was released because it wasn’t clear whether the incident occurred within Clery boundaries — that’s typically defined as university property and the bordering sidewalks. She also said that any alert or action taken by the university could have interfered with the Eugene Police Department’s criminal investigation.
In a Q&A released earlier this week, the university reported that it evaluates whether or not to release a campus crime alert based on three questions: Did the alleged crime occur within our Clery reportable boundaries? Is the report a serious or ongoing threat to the university community? Are the alleged suspects known?
“At the time of this report, all answers were ‘no.’ Based on that assessment, a campus crime alert was not issued,” the Q&A reads.
The incident was made public when EPD released a detailed 24-page report on the investigation.
Freyd is a national expert on sexual assault trauma, who in March was invited to the White House to discuss her research before the White House Task Force to Prevent Students from Sexual Assault.
President Michael Gottfredson announced in a press conference on May 9 that Artis, Dotson and Austin are no longer on the team and that head coach Dana Altman will return next season. A former Eugene city councilor later filed a complaint to the Department of Education alleging that the university violated Title IX by taking those actions.
Title IX is a federal law that “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.”