University of Oregon Trustee: Sexual Dancing by Cheerleaders May Contribute to Rape

A University of Oregon trustee wants to examine the moves of the school’s cheerleaders as part of an effort to combat campus rape.

University of Oregon Board of Trustee member Ginevra Ralph brought up the subject of its cheerleaders’ provocative dancing to fellow members in a recent meeting, saying that it merits investigation.

“I have watched people be incredibly uncomfortable with the U of O cheerleaders, and they actually leave the basketball arena during intermission because of the overt sexual dancing, or whatever you want to call it. It’s one thing if someone is doing any of that on their own, but we are making a public statement. I’d like to see us analyze it a little bit.”

According to the university’s athletic department page, the school considers cheerleaders as “official ambassadors for the University of Oregon.”

Ralph aired her cheerleader concerns during a trustee discussion about sexual assault on campus, and the university’s efforts to curb the frequency of such incidents. She said she is trying to understand feminist scholars and student activists who say policies at U.S. universities support a “rape culture.”

This discussion comes a year after a University of Oregon student claims she was gang-raped by three of the school’s basketball players, allegedly within hours of one of the team’s games. The three players met an 18-year-old freshman at a house party and brought her into a bathroom, according to the police report. The student said she thought this was part of “college fun.” The players asked her to “shake her butt,” and she did so, according to the police report.

Sexual acts ensued. The freshman said it was rape, while the basketball players said it was consensual. The university later found sexual misconduct on the part of the players and banned them from the campus.

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent


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