Students, UO staff voice concerns on sexual assault reporting policy

About 40 students and faculty members gathered in Columbia Hall 150 to address sexual assault reporting policy on campus Friday. The forum hosted by The University of Oregon Senate Workgroup on Responsible Reporting aimed to give students input before a permanent policy is determined by the UO Senate.

“One of our primary concerns is to write a policy that’s useable,” said McKenna O’Dougherty, a workgroup member and the forum’s co-facilitator.

The forum touched on topics such as the history of the current interim policy, online reporting tools and “soft outreaches,” such as providing resources to victims by email and phone.

Callisto — an online sexual assault reporting tool — seemed to garner support. One policy option discussed would include a hybrid of Callisto and personal on-campus resources for sexual assault victims.

“Living in the technology age, there is a certain amount of comfort using online databases,” one student said in supporting Callisto.

One person said some victims want a record and others want an emotional connection.

Facilitators asked if anyone supported the current interim reporting policy, which requires almost all faculty and staff to report sexual assault. No hands were raised.

One staff member said he was worried about the inability to hold a confidential conversation with a student who was sexually assaulted. Under the current policy, the responsible reporter is required to file a report if he or she hears of a sexual assault, regardless of the victim’s wishes.

“Respecting autonomy regarding the course of action seems important,” one person said.

Another topic of the forum was “soft outreach,” in which emails or calls are sent to victims that reported an assault. Some spoke against soft outreaches because of email privacy issues.

Facilitators distributed notecards so that attendees could write concerns and recommendations for the reporting policy, which the workgroup will use in consideration.

The workgroup’s next public meeting on Oct. 7 will continue the discussion on sexual assault reporting policy. Members hope to have a permanent policy passed by the UO Senate by Nov. 19.

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Will Campbell

Will Campbell

I'm the Senior News Editor at the Emerald. I was born and raised in Vancouver, WA.