Oregon Interim President Scott Coltrane issues statement regarding lawsuit

University of Oregon

University of Oregon Interim President Scott Coltrane issued a statement on Thursday regarding three former Ducks basketball players who were dismissed from the team in May following allegations of sexual assault.

Coltrane emailed campus faculty, students and staff after The Oregonian reported Thursday the alleged sexual assault victim has sued the University of Oregon and men's basketball head coach Dana Altman. According to the newspaper, two attorneys filed an 18-page civil complaint on behalf of the alleged victim, seeking undisclosed damages. The lawsuit alleges Altman and the University were aware that one of the implicated players, Brandon Austin, had been suspended by Providence College because of a sexual assault allegation before transferring to Oregon.

Coltrane's email re-affirms the University's belief that it "acted in accordance with the law, including Title IX." The email states:

Dear Campus Community,

Today, the University of Oregon was notified about a lawsuit filed by a current student related to a reported incident of sexual misconduct. While unfortunate, this filing is not unanticipated.

The university would prefer not to be in litigation with any student. We have been as respectful and supportive as possible of the student, including immediately implementing support services and appropriately honoring her choice of process, once hearing of her experience.

The university disagrees with the allegations against it and believes that it acted in accordance with the law, including Title IX. This litigation in no way undermines the university’s on-going commitment to support the student inside and outside of the classroom.

It has long been UO’s priority to provide support and services to any student in need and make our campus a safe place for all members of our community. We have regularly reassessed our efforts, implemented changes and added resources to address sexual assault. Our current efforts are guided by recommendations from the University Senate, the President’s Review Paneland a university-wide analysis of prevention efforts, which was coordinated by Student Life. We welcome feedback from the campus on our progress.

To be clear, UO’s review of transfer applications for all students includes an evaluation of academic credentials and potential campus fit. Enrollment decisions are made based on the information made available to us by applicants and our colleagues nationally.

The university has posted a timeline of events, which has been publicly available since mid-May. It outlines the aspects of the university’s response we can share while still protecting the privacy and rights of those involved.

As a community, each of us must work hard to provide support and services to any student in need and make our campus a safe place. Thank you for being part of our community.


Scott Coltrane
Interim President

Coltrane's statement also was published on Oregon's official university web site.

UPDATE: Altman acknowledged the suit but declined to comment at a regularly-scheduled press conference following Thursday's game vs. Arizona, referring questions to the University's General Counsel.

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