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Campus Sexual Harassment Legislation Moves
“No victim should ever be silenced by powerful institutions”

A group of bipartisan Oregon lawmakers introduced legislation to ensure safe and respectful Oregon university campuses. The legislation comes in the wake of the recent national response to the sexual assault allegations at Oregon Health & Science University.

In February, a lawsuit was filed against OHSU alleging that rampant sexual misconduct has been allowed for years and that leadership and management failed to report sexual assault allegations. Lawmakers cite the fact OHSU has failed to ever audit its sexual harassment, discrimination, and misconduct issues. Last week, OHSU paid $585,000 to the victim. Other racial discrimination suits have been filed against Oregon State University.

“Recent allegations on Oregon’s campuses underscores that the Legislature has not done enough to hold our universities accountable. The Legislature’s oversite in this area is much-needed so we can understand how to protect victims of harassment. The public deserves to know how their tax dollars are being spent in this area,” Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) and author of the legislation said.

The legislation would establish a bipartisan committee to investigate and hear testimony about the culture, policies, practices, and procedures that Oregon’s universities use to prevent and respond to sexual and racial harassment and discrimination.

“The Legislature must hold our universities accountable for creating a safe and inclusive space for everyone,” Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), co-chief sponsor of the legislation said. “No victim of sexual or racial harassment should ever be silenced by powerful institutions. We can let their voices be heard.”

Advocates and victims have raised concerns about the recent probe being conducted by the former Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder. In the agreement between him and OHSU, the report of the investigation was called “legal advice,” raising questions about how much of the results can be covered up. The Legislative oversite would ensure the public has access to important information while protecting victims.

The bill’s sponsors include state Sens. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Kayse Jama (D-Portland), Lew Fredrick (D-Portland), Tim Knopp (R-Bend), and state Reps. Christine Drazan (R-Canby), Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville), Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles), Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), Jami Cate (R-Lebanon), Bobby Levy (R-Ech0), Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass), and Kim Wallan (R-Medford).

The bipartisan-bicameral legislation was introduced today as SJR 30 and will be considered first by the Senate.

Photo by Cam Ferland on Unsplash


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-03 12:18:16Last Update: 2021-05-03 13:00:29



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