9/8/2011: A law professor closely involved with the case sends this update on the sexual harassment situation in philosophy:
Due to some probing by the Eugene Weekly, Russ Tomlin has already retracted a central claim in his statement about the Philosophy Department sexual harassment situation.
On 8-11, Tomlin told the Weekly that allegations of sexual harassment in the Phil Dept were unfounded because “no grievance or complaint was filed by any alleged victim.” But on 8-25, Tomlin retracted this claim, after being challenged by a reporter at the Eugene Weekly. He acknowledged that there was at least one complaint, but it was filed beyond the statute of limitations. “It was a timeliness question,” he stated–correcting his initial statement.
There is a world of difference between claiming that there were never any complaints at all and claiming that the complaints were discounted on technical grounds. (In fact, there were two complaints filed.) The first implies that the commotion in the Philosophy Department was all caused by “rumors”—this is what Tomlin stated, in his press release on the matter; the second implies nothing of the sort.
The bigger question is: why is Russ Tomlin makes any pronouncements at all to the press about confidential matters like a sexual harassment case?
Some links to the background on this are here.