In the aftermath of the sexual assault case that resulted in the dismissal of three Oregon basketball players, the athletic department has come under fire from people both within and outside of the campus community. Questions regarding what president Michael Gottfredson, athletic director Rob Mullens and head coach Dana Altman knew remain, and the demand for answers hasn’t subsided either.
One person who had not been heard from following the dismissal of Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin was the alleged victim, who has not been identified for obvious legal reasons. In Thursday’s Daily Emerald, Oregon’s student newspaper, a letter written by the victim was published. In the letter the victim criticized the athletic department for its actions while also making sure to thank the Dean of Students office for their help since the case came to light.
The full letter reads:
An open letter from a fellow Duck:
The past few months have, undeniably, been the hardest and most challenging time in my life. This is such an overwhelming experience and one that I hope that no other student on campus ever has to live through. Given what has transpired on campus recently, I have at times wondered whether I ever should have told anyone about what had happened.
I know a lot of people are angry. I am angry, too. I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene. I think that students, faculty, and other community members have been asking some very needed questions of our athletic department, and I am not satisfied with the answers they have provided. I think that we all deserve better explanations and real transparency.
Despite my frustration, it is important to me to thank the Dean of Students office. They have been very kind and supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not sure I would still be on campus if it weren’t for their help.
I know this has stirred up a lot of issues on campus and some of them are bigger than my incident. My sincere hope, though, is that as a school UO can get through this and come out in a better place at the end. I still love our school and I want it to be the best and safest place anywhere in the country.
Among the victim’s criticisms was the fact that the program would add a player (Austin) who was suspended for the entire season at Providence after having been investigated on an allegation of sexual assault. Oregon stated that it was unaware of the reason as to why Austin was suspended. No charges were filed in that incident, with the other player investigated (Rodney Bullock) choosing to remain at Providence.
Oregon senior director of communications Julie Brown released a statement in response to the victim’s letter to the school community.
“There have been many comments made by individuals not directly involved and affected by the alleged incident until today’s open letter to the Daily Emerald,” the statement read. “We sympathize with the challenging position that she finds herself in and support her right to express herself. We are pleased that she is continuing her education, and appreciate her pointing out the dedicated professionals in the Dean of Students office who work very hard to support each student while protecting privacy.”