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MailTribune.com
  • Civil rights complaint slams Oregon

    Motion filed in support of three ousted Ducks basketball players in wake of sexual misconduct allegations
  • Former Eugene City Councilor Kevin Hornbuckle has filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of three University of Oregon students who were kicked off the basketball team in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
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  • Former Eugene City Councilor Kevin Hornbuckle has filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of three University of Oregon students who were kicked off the basketball team in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
    Hornbuckle said he submitted his Title IX complaint against the UO on Monday through the website of the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
    "The basic problem is that rape accusations are effectively forever," Hornbuckle said Tuesday. "And the University of Oregon as well as the media have gravely harmed these three players, probably for the rest of their lives."
    In failing to defend the three players, and by "publicly impugning their character and morals," the UO administration "participated in generating a climate of hysteria," Hornbuckle wrote in his complaint.
    The UO on Tuesday did not respond to a request for comment from The Register-Guard.
    Hornbuckle accused the UO and its athletic department of violating the players' right to privacy and their right of assembly by condemning the sexual encounters of the three ballplayers and a female student.
    "This complaint is on behalf of all students at the University of Oregon who expected the president and every other administrator to keep their prying noses out of their sex lives," Hornbuckle said.
    "You would find in the sociological literature of young adult sex, reams of evidence of all kinds of exotic sexual activity at that age. It's part of being human and being young," he said.
    The complaint highlights the bind the UO finds itself in: take action against the players and be accused of caving in to political correctness, or take no action and be accused of condoning a campus culture of rape.
    Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner last month declined to prosecute the three basketball players on rape charges — saying there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The Eugene Police Department released a 24-page investigative report that detailed extensive sexual conduct between the players and the female student. The players said the contact was consensual; the female student says it wasn't and that she repeatedly tried to resist.
    The UO last week said it has permanently dropped the players from the team. It has declined to say whether the players are being charged with violating the student code of conduct, which sets strict rules that sexual contact between students needs to be clearly and explicitly consensual.
    Hornbuckle said he filed the civil rights complaint without the players' knowledge. The issue, he said, is wider and affects all UO students.
    Hornbuckle, who served on the City Council from 1993 to 1997, has never been shy about taking controversial public stands. He was a member of the Communist Party of Oregon and he called the council "an undemocratic regime stuffed with subservient lackeys handpicked by the controlling corporate elite," according to a news story from the time.
    Hornbuckle since has widened his critique to address feminism and its anti-violence campaigns. He is a frequent poster on avoiceformen.com, a website that promotes the men's human rights movement.
    Hornbuckle is critical of UO professor Jennifer Freyd and members of the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence.
    "UO president, athletic director, and coach all kowtowed to a politically correct cabal on campus. The new sexual McCarthyism must be confronted by federal Department of Education investigators in order to ensure equal access to education at the University of Oregon," Hornbuckle said in a press release Tuesday.
    He added: "The ever-expanding definition of sexual assault has created a crisis on university campuses nationwide, and in Canada. It has encroached consensual engagement to the point that males in particular are presumed to be guilty. The climate of prejudice encourages false accusations and disrupts students' ability to learn."
    Hornbuckle's complaint said UO President Michael Gottfredsen "succumbed to ill-formed public pressure instead of telling the newspaper and the public that the students have a right to privacy and that the student code of conduct does not deign to prescribe socially acceptable sexual activity."
    Hornbuckle said the UO should not have named the ballplayers. However, it was the Eugene Police Department that released the investigative report that first named the three: Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin. The report is a public record under Oregon public records law.
    "I don't think that's going to let the university off the hook, because the university has a duty to protect the privacy of the students. The president has no right to go to the press and denounce the sex lives of any students — no matter how offended he is," Hornbuckle said.
    Although Hornbuckle isn't related to the students or affiliated with the UO, he said he has standing in the matter under federal rules. "Privacy and freedom of association are important constitutional rights not to be thrown under the bus because the president of the University of Oregon is offended by exotic sex practices."
    The Office for Civil Rights declined to acknowledge receipt of Hornbuckle's complaint. "If after evaluation the Education Department opens an investigation into a complaint, we will inform the institution, the complainant and the public, as appropriate," a spokesman wrote in an email.
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