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CNN reports on UO retaliation, will air Hunting Ground despite libel threat

Back in the day, Dave Frohnmayer could make sure that even the local press wouldn’t cover stories about UO’s retaliation against its employees. For example, Joe Wade’s discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, which forced Frohnmayer and John Moseley to pay $500K and create what is now UO’s VP for Equity and Inclusion. I think that got one brief mention in the ODE.

Those bad days are gone. The RG and Oregonian cover everything. UO’s (alleged) retaliation against Archivist James Fox also made the national higher-ed press, as did the UOPD’s retaliation against James Cleavenger. And now CNN has a thorough report on the retaliation lawsuit brought by the UO whistleblowers who went public in the RG about Doug Park’s seizure of Jane Doe’s counseling records, here. A snippet:

Jennifer Morlok landed her dream job on the very campus where she earned two degrees. She was both a proud alumnae of the University of Oregon and a senior staff therapist and case manager at the university counseling center.

But when the school became embroiled in a scandal involving sexual assault allegations against three basketball players, Morlok found herself caught between a student client and the university she loved and served.

It was not easy, but her choice was clear.

She stood up for Jane Doe. …

And CNN will air “The Hunting Ground” today, Sunday, November 22, at 8 p.m. ET. CNN calls it “The groundbreaking documentary about sexual assault on American college campuses”.  The lawyer for Jameis Winston calls it libel. The NYT reports CNN is broadcasting it anyway:

The documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” features an interview with Erica Kinsman, who accused Mr. Winston of sexually assaulting her when he was a quarterback at Florida State University. The movie, directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, had its premiere at Sundance in January.

The movie received some positive reviews but was the subject of withering criticism last week from professors at Harvard Law School who argued the movie’s treatment of a rape case at Harvard was deeply flawed.

An attorney for Mr. Winston urged CNN not to run the documentary, saying that the movie “falsely and maliciously” attacks his client, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and threatened to sue CNN if it showed the film. Mr. Winston’s case was investigated by the Tallahassee police and Florida State, and he was not charged.

Sounds like Mr. Winston should have hired HLGR attorney William F. Gary, who has years of experience sending out threatening defamation take-down letters.


  1. a morsel for the plaintiff 11/22/2015

    UO carefully words its responses to say that their attorneys didn’t open the counseling records it demanded from Morlok. It makes sure not to mention whether the VP (and others) did or did not read them, or whether those people then talked about the counseling records to UO’s attorneys. I don’t remember for certain, but I think UO had the decency to admit that Kerr read them, and no doubt was in regular communication with UO’s attorneys.

    UO is still pretending retaliation never happens, instead of coming up with a plan for when in inevitably does happen. C’mon Schill, do something!

    • uomatters Post author | 11/22/2015

      My recollection is that Park’s office admitted opening the sealed envelopes and scanning the records to pdfs. They said that they then resealed the envelopes, and that no attorneys handled the records. They didn’t mention whether they had procedures in place to make sure no one in the office could access the pdfs on their server, or if such access was logged.

  2. Cheyney Ryan 11/22/2015

    The CNN story reminds us of an issue that the U of O adm has still not addressed, despite its insistence on putting past events behind us.

    I am speaking of Robin Holmes’ very public attack on Prof Jennifer Freyd’s academic integrity, specifically Robin’s charge of scientific “bias”. Robin has been repeatedly asked to retract this claim, and will not; quite the contrary, her charge continues to be repeated by the U of O news office.

    Bad enough that an administrator attack one of its most distinguished senior faculty–but in this case, the administrator is someone from student affairs, with zero academic achievements. Who is Robin going to criticize next–Mike Posner? Geri Richmond?

    Robert McNamara apologized for Vietnam, Tony Blair has apologized for Iraq–for God’s sake, can’t Robin Holmes apologize for her attacks on Jennifer Freyd? Isn’t this part of putting the past behind us?

    • Did you ever get an apology? 11/23/2015

      Says some crackpot who left in disgrace from the U of O, uh, I mean teaching at Oxford.

      Just so you know, Phil’s received apologies on multiple occasions, though I’m sure you’re not unclear where faculty stand relative to donors.

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