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Oregon Lawmakers Want To Examine Sexual And Racial Discrimination On College Campuses

University of Oregon

A bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers unveiled a proposal this week that would create a new panel to examine sexual and racial discrimination on college campuses.


If approved, Senate Joint Resolution 30 would create a committee of Senators and Representatives that would hold hearings and create proposed legislation to be considered during upcoming legislative sessions.


Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, said during an online press conference that the proposal is meant to shed light on an important issue.

“As a legislature, we have an obligation to make sure that all of our public institutions, all of our taxpayer-funded institutions, are open and transparent, and are doing everything that they can to have safe and respectful cultures,” she said.

Another of the resolution's sponsors, Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, said the intent is not to punish universities for the way they've handled harrassment and discrimination issues in the past. 

"The goal is to diagnose the issue, provide a workable path forward, and make our campuses safe and respectful for everyone," said Thatcher.

Lawmakers who support the measure point to a recent lawsuit against OHSU in a sexual assault case as an example of a public institution falling short of protecting its students.


The proposal to create the new committee would have to be approved by a full vote of the Oregon House and Senate. 


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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