The University of Oregon reached an $800,000 settlement Tuesday with a student who claimed she was raped by three basketball players – one of whom had been accused of sexual assault at a previous school.
In a lawsuit filed in January 2015, "Jane Doe" said that the University of Oregon and basketball coach Dana Altman demonstrated "'deliberate indifference' to the safety of its students" by choosing to recruit Brandon Austin, who'd been accused of sexual assault during his freshman year at Providence College. The University has claimed they were unaware of Austin's suspension at Providence College when he was recruited.
In June 2014, Austin, along with teammates Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson were found responsible by the University for gang-raping Jane Doe in March of that year. While under investigation by the university, the three players were allowed to play for the school in the NCAA March Madness tournament. They were eventually suspended from the University for four years, which allowed them to withdraw from the school without being expelled.
The three players enrolled at new schools, with Dotson and Artis finding spots for Division I teams. Austin was given a basketball scholarship at Northwest Florida State College.
Jane Doe's lawsuit said that Austin's recruitment to the basketball team had violated her rights under Title IX.
Under the settlement, Jane Doe will receive $800,000 from the University (Dana Altman was dropped from the lawsuit) and a "full waiver of tuition, housing, and student fees for four full years of further education at the University of Oregon, available at both the undergraduate level or in any University graduate program to which she is admitted." With two years left in her undergraduate program, only two of those compensated years can be used for graduate school.
Also included in the settlement filing is a statement that the University will "continue to pursue a policy change requiring all transfer applicants to report any disciplinary history they have at their current or prior schools."
The settlement is not an "admission of liability," according to the document.
In a message posted to the University of Oregon website, President Michael Schill announced that the University had hired a "Title IX Coordinator" to help launch "new programs on sexual violence and harassment."
"I do not believe any of our coaches, administrators, or other university personnel acted wrongfully," Schill asserted in the statement. "Nor do I believe that any one of them failed to live up to the high moral standards that we value and that they embody in their work every day."
"The underlying incident that gave rise to the litigation is an affront to each and every one of us," Schill said. "The University of Oregon will not tolerate sexual assault or sexual violence. [...] We will show our students that we have zero tolerance for sexual violence by expeditiously investigating and taking action without sacrificing due process."
Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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