Rape accusations against UO athletes sparks protest

Rape accusations against UO athletes sparks protest »Play Video
Protesters at Johnson Hall on the Oregon campus Thursday

EUGENE, Ore. - Protesters angered by the University of Oregon's handling of rape allegations against 3 basketball players marched on campus Thursday, shouting slogans like "survivors over sports" and "we want answers."

"I know too many people that this has been a problem for - you know, friends and family members - who've had to deal with this and deal with this same situation of people not listening and then rape culture in general needs to be fought," said student Matika Levy, who took part in the march from Hendricks Hall to Johnson Hall. "I think if we have a student gathering saying 'we are all here' it'll help the survivors maybe feel like she's not alone."

After a silent march across campus, a couple hundred students gathered outside Johnson Hall and chanted, asking why one of the alleged rapists, Brandon Austin, was allowed to come to the UO in the first place after he was investigated for a similar crime at his last school in Rhode Island.

The protesters took their chants inside the building and that drew administrators out. After the administrators said they would look into the students' concerns, the crowd dispersed.

The accusations came to light this week with the release of a police report into the March 9 incident.

The woman involved said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted. The three men said the sexual contact was consensual.

The report became public after the Lane County district attorney declined to file charges, saying not enough evidence existed to prove a crime occured beyond a reasonable doubt.

The University administration has said school officials became aware of the allegations the same day but held off on taking any action at the request of the Eugene Police Department.

The players, who are no longer taking part in basketball activities, went on to take part in the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.

"We want our students to have a safe campus environment," said David Craig, president of the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation, "and we recognize that the administration doesn't always recognize that or doesn't seem to be prioritizing that enough."

"A lot of us, it took the press letting us know before we even learned and that's ridiculous," said Claire Aubin with the UO Coalition, "and I as a student don't feel safe with things like that happening."