Sexual assault. Student workers on strike. Mariota. Heisman.
These and other things propelled University of Oregon into the state and national spotlight in 2014. As the university inched further away from complete state control and a new governing Board of Trustees was introduced, the school has been looking more and more for outside methods of funding. Criticism of the administration at UO has reached a high note, and students crowded outside Johnson Hall throughout the year to protest the administration’s lack of transparency, hikes in tuition, and refusal to provide paid leave to Graduate Teaching Fellows. President Gottfredson left UO, and GTFs left their classrooms to strike. Marcus Mariota won the Heisman trophy.
As 2014 draws to a close, The Emerald reflects on top headlines at the University of Oregon.
ASUO elections mired in controversy
University of Oregon freshman and ASUO presidential candidate Thomas Tullis recorded a conversation where opposing Mighty Oregon candidate Ben Bowman, his campaign manager Marshall Kosloff and Alex Titus tried to convince him not to run in the election. On March 18, Tullis filed a grievance requesting that Bowman and senatorial candidate Emily Wu be removed from the ballot. Also on March 18, Kosloff resigned from the Mighty Oregon campaign.
The Elections Board disqualified Ben Bowman from elections, stating that he violated eight sections of the ASUO election rules on March 20. Bowman appealed this decision. On April 4, Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes stepped in and reinstated Bowman as a Mighty Oregon candidate in the election. Upon administration’s decision to step in, the entire elections board resigned, stating that they would come back to work if the admininstration stepped out of the decision making process of the election. Beatriz Guitterez, Thomas Tullis and Taylor Allison remained as ASUO presidential candidates for the 2014-2015 school year. Gutierrez, a part of the Ducks Like You campaign, won the election.
A timeline of these events is here.
Basketball players accused of sexual assault
News broke on May 5 that three University of Oregon basketball players were accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a UO freshman. Law enforcement dropped the case on April 14, stating that there was insufficient evidence to prove criminal conduct.
The police report, which included 12 separate interviews, was released on May 5. Due to the situation the accused players, Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin were no longer participating in UO athletics. However, the trio was permitted to play in the Pac-12 Championship and NCAA tournaments despite the athletic department’s knowledge of the accusations. Not removing Artis, Dotson and Austin protected the team’s Academic Progress Rate from dropping too low and getting penalized by the NCAA.
University of Oregon Board of Trustees takes reins from Oregon University System
A Board of Trustees that has final say in who UO’s next president will be, and also sets tuition rates and delegates charge of the student conduct code took governance on July 1. Before the board was established, the UO was one seven universities under Oregon University System rule. This year Oregon State University, Portland State University and UO all created their own boards of trustees.
University President Michael Gottfredson resigns
Michael Gottfredson, former president of the University of Oregon resigned suddenly on August 6. Gottfredson said in a letter to the university that his desire to return to academia and spend more time with his family were his reasons for leaving UO. He was awarded a $940,000 severance package, and Vice President Scott Coltrane was elected by the Board of Trustees to serve as interim until the elected presidential search committee finds a replacement. The next president will be the sixth in seven years.
Ethiopian athletes go missing
On Saturday July 27, four Ethiopian athletes that were competing in the IAFF World Junior Track and Field Championships that took place at the University of Oregon were reported missing. Three women, Dureti Edao, Meaza Kebede and Zeyituna Muhammed all 18, and one male, Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17, weren’t seen in their dorm rooms on Saturday morning, and were announced missing shortly after. On Monday, July 28, UOPD found three of the athletes that were in the Beaverton visiting family and friends. Muhammed was later found in Federal Way, Washington on Tuesday, July 29.
Survey says one in 10 women are sexually assaulted at UO
University of Oregon psychology professor and researcher Jennifer Freyd made national headlines when she released a survey saying one in 10 women experience rape at UO. The story was picked up by the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times, among others, and became part of the national conversation about campus rape. Freyd is still revealing findings, including statistics saying that nearly half of women in Fraternity and Sorority Life have experienced non-consensual sexual contact.
UO announces $2 billion fundraising campaign
The most ambitious higher ed funding campaign in state history was announced on Oct. 17 at a private event on the eve of Homecoming at the University of Oregon. In the next four years, the UO hopes to receive donations of more than $2 billion that will go to fund scholarships, hiring of 150 new tenure track positions, and expanding research, construction and renovation projects. It’s part of the university’s plan to boost it’s AAU ranking, especially when it comes to research, according to Mike Andreasen, Vice President of University Advancement at UO.
Graduate Teaching Fellows go on strike
After over a year of contract negotiations, hundreds of Graduate Teaching Fellows at University of Oregon went on strike on Dec. 2, the Tuesday before finals week. For the next eight days, around half of all university GTFs did not come to class–the union estimates 650 to 700, which is a little more than the 618 GTFs that voted to strike Oct. 27. Discussion sections and classes were cancelled, and professors cancelled final papers or changed exams until the strike ran its course. On Dec. 10, however, the university and the graduate teaching fellow’s union reached an agreement and GTFs headed back to class.
“This has been a challenging time for our campus,” President Scott Coltrane said at the end. “It is now time for us to begin rebuilding trust.”
Mariota first Duck to receive Heisman trophy
After a highly decorated season that has the Ducks heading to the College Football Playoff against Florida State, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota received the Heisman trophy. Mariota broke records all season, totaling 4,478 yards and 53 touchdowns, sweeping all six Heisman regions with 778 first-place votes and 90.92 percent of total votes. Mariota’s acceptance speech was short.
“To all my teammates, I love every single one of you and I am truly grateful for all the experiences,” Mariota said during the speech. “I hope each of you will take pride and understand that this is your trophy.