University of Oregon settles high-profile rape lawsuit for $800,000

President says the school wants to move forward

A University of Oregon student who said she was raped by three basketball team members last year has settled with the university. The terms: $800,000 and four years of free enrollment.

The student, who is being identified only as Jane Doe, says the basketball players raped her in March 2014 at an off-campus party. The players say what happened was consensual. Last January, Jane Doe filed a Title IX lawsuit against UO, alleging the school handled her case inappropriately and violated her privacy by accessing her confidential mental health records.

According to the terms of the settlement, Jane Doe will receive $800,000 and four years of free tuition, housing, and student fees. Additionally, UO agreed to require transfer applicants to disclose their disciplinary record, because one of the players had previously been accused of sexual misconduct at another college.

The settlement does not assign blame and it is not an admission of guilt by the university, UO president Michael Schill wrote in a letter to the campus. Schill added that he does not believe staff members, administrators, or coaches acted inappropriately.

"We're not trying to say who did what, who was right, who was wrong," explained Schill in an interview Tuesday. "All we want to say is something terrible happened to one of our students. We want to resolve that. And we want to move forward."

UO now wants to be a national leader in preventing, investigating, and remedying sexual assault, says Schill. UO has created eight new positions to work on sexual violence, including an associate VP for Title IX who will report to the president.

"I want to be clear. The University of Oregon will not tolerate sexual assault or sexual violence," reads Schill's letter to campus. "We will teach our students to respect each other. We will teach them to look out for each other. We will show our students that we have zero tolerance for sexual violence by expeditiously investigating and taking action without sacrificing due process. We will not rest until we succeed" (Dietz, Register-Guard, 8/5; AP/New York Times, 8/4; "Quick Takes," Inside Higher Ed, 8/5; Auerbach, USA Today, 8/4).

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