UO Senate temporarily votes down mandatory reporting policy, but debate will continue

The UO’s mandatory reporting policy will remain the same for at least the immediate future.

A motion to revise the current “Responsible Employee” policy failed at May 18’s UO Senate meeting by a vote of 15-16 with 20 absent senators. The proposal would have widely expanded the university’s policy to include more employees and situations in which reporting would be required.

Questions about academic freedom and survivors’ control pushed buttons as a two-hour discussion about the language and merit of a change to the current policy took place. This followed quick decisions about exam scheduling and course overlap.

The conversation was extended twice as the senate pushed the emergency meeting past the scheduled time of 5:30 p.m. and still failed to complete all agenda items.

The senate did discuss a “cleaner version” of the policy proposed by vice president Bill Harbaugh. The version, Harbaugh and other members of the senate believe, clarifies the language of the proposal.

Brenda Tracy, a survivor of sexual assault at Oregon State University in 1998, shared her story with those in attendance, pushing against the idea that mandatory reporters should be in the majority.

“Mandatory reporting does not support us,” Tracy said. “It silences us.”

In addition to pushing back on mandatory reporting in cases of sexual harassment and assault, some raised questions about how the proposed policy would deal with issues of prohibited discrimination, specifically discrimination based on race.

The current policy is set to expire in August. With the failure of the proposal, UO President Michael Schill will need to address questions about mandatory reporting moving forward, UO Senate President Randy Sullivan said.

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Max Thornberry

Max Thornberry

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