Broad plan to address sexual violence discussed at forum

Interim President Scott Coltrane
Interim President Scott Coltrane

Months of work on behalf of dozens of faculty, staff, administrators and students came together Monday as interim President Scott Coltrane unveiled the elements of a comprehensive plan to combat sexual violence at the University of Oregon.

A full house in the Giustina Ballroom at the Ford Alumni Center listened as Coltrane outlined the parallel efforts of the President’s External Review Panel, the University Senate, the Division of Student Life and the ASUO in crafting more than 120 recommendations designed to alter policies, improve staffing and move the needle on the campus climate.

“While I have this time in this role, I want to do everything I can to fix things,” said Coltrane, a sociologist who studies gender and families.

“All forms of sexual misconduct are unacceptable,” Coltrane told the audience. Sexual violence “will not be tolerated.”

Among the recommendations that will be implemented are a new assistant vice president to prevent and address sexual violence, as well as an advisory council, new staff positions, policy and process modifications, and prevention education efforts.

In all, the planned initiatives the recommendations represent $500,000 in additional resources to be dedicated to reduce incidents of sexual violence at the university and provide support to victims.

Not all in the audience, made up largely of students, were pleased with what they heard. Many challenged the president to do more and revisit the administration’s priorities to end rape culture and institutional betrayal.

“The passion around this issue is huge,” Coltrane noted in his opening remarks, adding that “we are at one of those historical turning points” in our ability to address sexual violence on campus.

“We are pulling together all of the suggestions that have been made into a comprehensive plan,” Coltrane said.

More than 100 of the suggestions will be implemented rapidly, with most in place by the end of spring term.

Following the president’s remarks and the question-and-answer period, attendees were broken into small groups to discuss prioritization of the recommendations and to find out which issues were of major concern to the students.

The event drew media attention from local television station KEZI.

—By Tobin J. Klinger, Public Affairs Communications