February 07, 2019

Wyden, Merkley Press Power-5 Conferences to Toughen Sexual Assault Policies

Oregon senators want Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 to take meaningful action to address sexual violence

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today asked the commissioners of the Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 conferences to take serious and meaningful steps to address the misconduct and sexual violence within their athletics programs.

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter to the commissioners of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Power 5 conferences was signed by Senators Patty Murray, Maggie Hassan, Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Ed Markey.

The senators wrote that their request of the individual conferences comes in the wake of the NCAA’s decision to dissolve its Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence in August 2018 without considering or adopting any meaningful solutions beyond actions already required by federal law.

“In the absence of meaningful action by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), we are looking to your conferences to stand up for the thousands of young people who experience sexual violence on campus by cultivating a culture of safety, accountability, and respect for students’ rights,” the senators wrote. “We believe that participation in athletics is a privilege, not a right, and that student-athletes who perpetrate serious misconduct must be held accountable.”

“All students deserve the opportunity to obtain higher education free from sexual violence or misconduct,” they continued. “We urge you to work with sexual assault survivors, victim’s rights groups, and other advocacy organizations to take meaningful action so students can feel truly safe on campus.”

A copy of this letter is available here.

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