EUGENE, Ore. – University of Oregon students and staff were rallying on campus Thursday to protest how the school handled recent rape allegations involving three basketball players.
On March 8, Brandon Austin, Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis allegedly took a woman into a bathroom at an off-campus house party, where she claims they forced her to have sex with them. She told investigators the men raped her again when she went with them to an apartment.
After a criminal investigation, the Lane County District Attorney said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the men.
The players are not currently participating in U of O basketball team activities, and a recent ESPN report said they won’t return to the team next season.
But in a rally in Eugene Thursday, students and staff said the school didn’t take enough action against the alleged rape and that the athletic department failed to take swift action after the accusations.
Protesters marched to the president's office, chanting "We want answers." They held copies of the student newspaper The Daily Emerald with the headline, 'We need to talk about rape."
"Waiting a month or more to make a statement about something like this gives the strong message on the part of the school that they care a lot more about people who bring in money or who are powerful politically or social than people who aren't," said student Claire Aubin.
Unlike a criminal case, where prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the university only needs a "preponderance of evidence" before taking disciplinary action.
Protesters said the school’s silence about the recent allegations allows this type of behavior to happen.
The university has not publicly commented on the case because of student privacy law.
Thursday afternoon, the cab driver who gave the alleged victim and the players a ride to an apartment near Autzen Stadium that night talked to KGW.
The driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said nothing happened while the group was in his cab, but he didn't think the woman's story seemed inconsistent with what he saw.
"They all seemed pretty drunk," the driver said. "She was excited to hang out with some basketball players. She didn't know what she was getting herself into. So ... I could see her side of it."
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