Q&A with Mary Deits, chair of the President’s Review Panel

The President’s Review Panel is holding public listening sessions to gather input on how UO handles sexual misconduct. The sessions will be held at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. this Tuesday, October 7 in the Global Scholars Great Hall.

Mary Deits is a the chair of the President’s Review Panel, currently charged with making a report with observations and recommendations on how the University of Oregon handles sexual assault allegations on campus. Deits is a native Oregonian who has worked in the Oregon Attorney General’s office and the Oregon Court of Appeals. @@name [email protected]@

Could you tell us about your report?

“What we’ve been asked to do is just sort of look at what the university practices and policies are related to incidents of sexual misconduct and to make observations about them. Then to make recommendations about things that we think the university needs to look at. Particular suggestions or recommendations for action that we think would make sense based not only on what we’re seeing at the University of Oregon, but what we’re seeing at other universities. There’s a lot of experts on this sort of thing, a lot of writing on things that work and things that don’t so I think the report will be a combination of observations and recommendations.”

How are you different from the Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support?

“I think in some ways we’re the same, in some ways we’re different. I think we both have a goal of trying to find ways that the university can do a better job of protecting it’s campus community and dealing with issues of this nature. I think that the perspective of the senate task force is one of individuals that are very familiar with the university, all of them are insiders that have experience with the students. I think we come at it with a slightly different perspective. We have people from other universities who are vice presidents related to student affairs, we have judges and we have former university presidents. So I think our perspective is a little bit different and I think in fact, based on what I’ve seen of the senate task force recommendations there’s an awful lot of things we’ll end up agreeing on.”

Why should students come to the open forums?

“Well I think this is a really serious issue that affects students more than anyone. I think students are able to offer a perspective that we don’t have. They’re living the student life, they’re subjected to some of these behaviors and it’s really critical that when we hear what they think the university can do different, what they can do to protect students better, what they can do to process complaints related to sexual misconduct. I just think it’s an incredible, invaluable perspective that none of the rest of us have and we very much want to reach out to students.”

Will the report be the end of this panel?

“Right now our charge is to prepare a report. Part of our report is going to include a recommendation that there be some mechanisms for assessing the effectiveness of the particular measures that the university takes. I don’t know whether we will go on or not, at this point I don’t think so but we think it’s not the sort of thing that somebody ought to write a report or make recommendations and just sort of drop out there and nobody takes another look at it. I think it’s really important that the university take it seriously and follow up on those recommendations and make sure that they’re really effective.”

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Alexandra Wallachy

Alexandra Wallachy

Alex is a head correspondent at the Emerald focusing on higher education and student government. She is also a producer for the Emerald Podcast Network and a huge fan of the Daily Show.