President Schill and GC Kevin Reed announce strong counseling confidentiality policy

I’m no law professor, but this policy seems to put to rest worries that UO will ever again access confidential student counseling records for questionable purposes.

It’s also notable in that the Oregon Bar ethics complaint against UO Interim General Counsel Doug Park and Associate General Counsel Sam Hill for obtaining the records, and the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiner’s proposed $5K fine against UO Counseling Director Shelly Kerr for releasing them, are still in various stages of appeals.

This new policy will not help these administrators’ cases – it will hurt them by making clear that what happened was wrong, and needed to be fixed. But it will help address the student concerns about UO’s institutional betrayal over sexual assaults that were identified by Jennifer Freyd. Which is more important.

UO’s new administration has done the right thing. A lot of people worked very hard to get us to this point, and I hope they are celebrating tonight. None of this would have come to light without the whistleblowing of CTS employees Jennifer Morlock and Karen Stokes, who have filed notice of a retaliation claim against UO.

The new policy is here, and here’s the announcement:

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UO Counseling Director Shelly Kerr fined $5K for giving Jane Doe records to Doug Park’s GC office

That’s the report from a normally well informed source. (Now confirmed, see below for the report).

Today the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners imposed a $5,000 fine on Dr. Shelly Kerr, Director of the University of Oregon Counseling and Testing Center, for actions relating to the transfer of counseling records to the Office of General Counsel.  The Board also ordered her to undergo additional ethical training.  (The Board dismissed charges against VP Robin Holmes and Brooks Morse, Associate Director Training Director, and Joseph DeWitz, Assistant Director and Clinical Director.)

Dr. Kerr’s license record is here: http://obpe.alcsoftware.com/licdetail.php?id=1500, and the Board’s report is here. The latest I have on the retaliation lawsuit by Karen Stokes and Jennifer Morlock, who filed the complaint with the Board, is here. UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger’s response to that one is here.

Stokes and Morlock also filed a Oregon Bar ethics complaint against Interim General Counsel Doug Park and his Associate GC Samantha Hill. The bar initially dismissed it but they’ve appealed, and presumably this will make it more difficult for the Bar’s Ethics Committee to look the other way:

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Six UO employees, including vice president, under investigation for alleged misconduct concerning rape case

That’s today’s news from Rich Read in the Oregonian:

Six University of Oregon employees, including a vice president and the school’sinterim top lawyer, are under investigation for alleged misconduct in the handling of therapy records of a student who says she was gang-raped by three Ducks basketball players.

The Oregon State Bar is investigating complaints against interim general counsel Douglas Park and associate general counsel Samantha Hill. The Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners is investigating complaints against four people, including Robin Holmes, the university’s vice president for student life, who is a licensed psychologist.

Jennifer Morlok, a senior staff therapist identified in legal correspondence as the clinician who counseled the woman, filed all the complaints. The state Bar can, among other possible penalties for misconduct, permanently disbar a lawyer for gross violations of professional-conduct rules. The psychologist’s board can, in extreme cases of wrongdoing, revoke practitioners’ licenses. Each organization can also dismiss cases or issue mild rebukes.

…  The Board of Psychologist Examiners received initial investigation results during a confidential meeting March 20, and voted to investigate further, according to documents obtained by The Oregonian/Oregonlive. The board is sending written questions to the four psychologists that must be answered within 30 days.

Robert Steringer, a lawyer hired by the university to represent the psychologists, said they did nothing that would violate the American Psychological Association’s ethical principles and code of conduct, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Oregon laws.

…. On Thursday, UO senior communications director Julie Brown released a statement on behalf of the university, which said in part: “We are confident that the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners and the Oregon State Bar will clear the individuals of what we believe are false claims and accusations.

“The individuals involved are fully cooperating with the entities leading the inquiries,” Brown wrote, “and continue to carry out their job responsibilities with honesty and professionalism for our students.”

So all these people are now lawyered up. Robert Steringer of HLGR represents the psychologists, he’s paid for by UO. Arden Jolson also of HLGR represents Doug Park, and Bradley Tellam of Stoel Rives represents Doug Park’s Associate GC Samantha (Sam) Hill.

Interesting that Park and Hill have separate lawyers, from separate firms. Some sort of conflict in their stories about what happened?

Coltrane’s “Campus Conversation” on sexual violence prevention fails

3/2/2015: Campus Conversation” on rape response, 4PM today, Alumni Center.

I couldn’t make this, but the word from others is that this was a massive fail, with Coltrane getting called out repeatedly by the students for his lack of progress and efforts to pass off the blame.

2/27/2015: How much is the athletic budget contributing towards Miller Nash’s legal fees for defending basketball coach Dana Altman? Anything? I don’t know. Let’s find out:

On Friday Feb 27, 2015

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for documents showing how much UO is paying the Miller Nash attorneys who are defending UO and Dana Altman against the lawsuit from the survivor of the alleged basketball gang rape.

Specifically, I am requesting documents showing how much has been spent so far, and how much of that has been paid for by general academic funds, athletic department funds, and other sources such as insurance, UO Foundation money, etc.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

2/26/2015, 4:20PM: UO drops counter-claim, but still blames survivor for “damage to a good man’s reputation”, and claims *she* is discouraging rape reporting.

This is a first for Johnson Hall: admitting a mistake. It took “Sven Praoc” and 2100 petition signers to get them to do the right thing.

No news on when Coltrane will apologize for his prejudicial allegation of an “unlawful release” of UO Presidential Archives. Baby steps.

Josephine Woolington has the story in the RG, here. It appears Coltrane got some lousy legal advice, either from UO attorneys Doug Park and Sam Hill, or UO’s hired Miller Nash attorneys, Michelle Smigel http://www.millernash.com/michelle-smigel/ and Michael Porter http://www.millernash.com/michael-porter/:

Coltrane, however, criticized the online petition that characterized the UO as having filed a lawsuit against the victim, as opposed to responding to a lawsuit. He said he was advised by attorneys that it’s routine to counter a suit.

“Their suit would have us pay legal fees, and I was told it’s typical when you respond” to also file a counterclaim, he said.

…  The UO’s updated response, however, still contends that Jane Doe’s attorneys “filed a lawsuit with unfounded allegations that damage a good man’s (Altman’s) reputation in an attempt to curry favor and gain traction in the media and create pressure for a public university to pay a hefty sum to (Jane Doe) even though it has done nothing wrong.”

The university argues that Jane Doe’s allegations threaten not only the UO and Altman, “but all sexual assault survivors in Oregon’s campus community.

“The publication of false allegations about Oregon’s handling of a report of an alleged sexual assault creates a very real risk that other survivors will wrongly be discouraged from reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment to Oregon,” which conflicts with the goal of a federal civil rights law, known as Title IX, the response said.

Say what? UO’s revised and sanitized response to the lawsuit is less intimidating to victims who might consider exercising their civil rights than was the previous version, though no less offensive:

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Full docket w/ old and new language here, thanks to recapthelaw.org

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UO General Counsel stops pleading the Fifth on Dearinger resume

12/6/2014 update: Page down for the long history of UO’s attempts to hide the names and resumes of the people working in its General Counsel’s office. The GC’s website has been “pleading the Fifth” on who works there, and their qualifications, ever since Randy Geller appointed Melinda Grier as General Counsel Emerita:

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I’ve now managed to obtain a current listing of General Counsel attorneys:

Douglas Park: Acting General Counsel, dougpark@uoregon.edu
Park was appointed Interim GC after President Gottfredson’s mysterious firing of Randy Geller, in the midst of the basketball rape allegations cover-up. After many requests and a petition to the District Attorney, Park finally posted his resume, here.

Samantha Hill: Associate General Counsel, samhill@uoregon.edu
The General Counsel’s office refuses to release Ms Hill’s resume, arguing that it is exempt from disclosure by claiming she is a faculty member. She has never taught a class at UO. Doug Park went so far as to accuse me of sexual harassment and stalking, because I made a public records request for her resume.

Melissa Matella: Assistant General Counsel, mmatella@uoregon.edu
The General Counsel’s office refuses to release Ms Hill’s resume, also arguing that it is exempt from disclosure because she is faculty. She has also never taught a class at UO.

Bryan Dearinger: Assistant General Counsel, bdearing@uoregon.edu
He is the newest hire. The GC’s office released Mr. Dearinger’s resume, here, 3 days after I requested it. It’s an impressive one.

Salaries:

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6/17/2014 update: Doug Park tells UOM to file petition with DA to see attorney resumes. So I did.

Randy Geller’s retirement is effective 6/30. Presumably one of UO’s associate or assistant GC’s will take his place as Interim UO GC, and as Interim GC for the UO Trustees. Awesome responsibility. I’d sort of like to know the qualifications of these people. So I asked to see the resumes and the cover letters they’d sent in when applying to work at UO. Associate GC Doug Park rejected my public records request, telling me to appeal it to the DA if I wanted too. I wrote back that a simpler solution would be for him to post some basic info on the GC’s website. He wouldn’t. So, I took his advice, and here’s the appeal:

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Park wants another helper lawyer, and $ to show Geller docs

9/12/2014 update:

Job ad here: http://jobs.uoregon.edu/unclassified.php?id=4873. Still no update to the GC’s webpage about who is currently working there. Meanwhile Doug Park wants $79.60 for the docs explaining Geller’s sudden resignation:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any emails or other public records sent or received by Randy Geller between March 9th and May 6th, related to his April 21 decision to retire, as announced by ‘Around the O'” 06/17/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $79.60. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

Request for a public interest fee waiver denied. Seriously? What does it take? A story on KATU television?

9/4/2014: Gottfredson gave Doug Park a $68K raise and Geller’s family bowl game junkets to serve as acting GC for a year

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