WGSS demands resignation of Alexander, board of trustees; ‘OSU has repeatedly failed survivors’

A file photo from an Oregon State University Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 20, 2020. The whole board is not pictured here.

Millicent Durand, News Contributor

Editor’s Note: Content warning—story contains mention of sexual harassment and assault.

On the evening of March 16, a statement was released on behalf of the faculty in Oregon State University’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department reaffirming their solidarity with survivors of sexual violence, as well as demanding not only the resignation of Oregon State University President F. King Alexander, but the entire board of trustees.

“President Alexander’s claim that what happened at LSU could not happen at OSU because of OSU’s policies is false. OSU must commit to substantial changes to its institutional priorities and policies,” the statement said.

The statement was to reaffirm that “WGSS supports survivors and demands that our community not reproduce and excuse violence.”

“OSU has repeatedly failed survivors, and, as we now know, the hiring of president Alexander is one more example of that failure,” the statement said. “We recognize that the recent news about president Alexander’s actions at [Louisiana State University] may be traumatizing for survivors, and OSU has a responsibility to increase support for survivors immediately.”

Alexander has been in hot water since law firm Husch Blackwell released a report detailing alleged title IX violations during his time as President of Louisiana State University

“We commit to feminist interrogations of systems of power. Our classes will continue to examine the ways that inequity, oppression and discrimination via race, gender, sexuality, class, ability and nationality generate violence and shield individual and institutional perpetrators,” the statement said. “Our curriculum, and especially our courses in the Bacc Core, equip our community to analyze these workings of power and not just imagine a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism, but also work to build that world now.”

The statement then went on to demand the resignation of both Alexander and the entire  board of trustees.  

“We call for president Alexander’s resignation. Furthermore, we call for the resignation of the board of trustees and a transparent and thorough external review of the search process that led to president Alexander’s hiring. Complete transparency and full community participation in hiring of senior administrators is the only way to ensure that OSU will not repeat these same mistakes and continue to retraumatize survivors in our community,” the statement said.

The statement also called for more funding for Counseling and Psychological Services, Survivor Advocacy and Resource Center, Equal Opportunity and Access, and the Employee Assistance Program, as well as “to make the changes to the bias reporting process that students, faculty, and staff are currently demanding because it has repeatedly failed to prevent and address race and gender-based discrimination.”

This statement follows an hour and a half long faculty Q&A yesterday, where Alexander was asked questions about the report from faculty. 

“We express our solidarity with other faculty, staff and students as they demand that OSU enact the changes in leadership and institutional policy and resource allocation that will make Oregon State University a model of appropriate response to gendered violence and institutional complicity.”

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