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Freyd lawsuit: Admin witness recants, AAUP, ERA & Dolly Parton support appeal

Last updated on 10/04/2019

Update: UO’s response to Prof Allen’s letter is here.

Update: At some point a rational university president with UO’s best interests in mind would tell General Counsel Kevin Reed to swallow his ego, stop trying to overcompensate for his Bowl of Dicks mistakes by blowing tuition money on Barran Liebman’s billable hours, and just settle. Ideally before Dolly Parton joins an amicus brief for the plaintiff:


And many more. To quote from Ms Parton’s well-cited work on this subject:

They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it
9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I would deserve a fat promotion
Want to move ahead but the boss won’t seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me!

10/1/2019: My most recent post on this lawsuit was back in May: Nevertheless she persisted – Freyd to appeal gender discrimination case.

That appeal has been going pretty well. Last month the UO administration’s star witness, Psychology Prof Nick Allen, wrote to the court, essentially saying that UO’s lawyers had misused his sworn declaration and that he was now supporting her appeal:

Having been at the oral arguments in Judge McShane’s courtroom back in April, I can confirm that UO’s hired attorney Paula Barran‘s use of Allen’s original declaration was indeed polemical, and I’m surprised the judge let her go on and on with so little skepticism. The transcript won’t be public for another two weeks, but it was hard not to snicker when Barran explained the higher importance of research that uses “bodily fluids” and “sophisticated brain-imaging” instead of mere surveys. [Full disclosure: I’ve used all three, sometimes in the same paper. It’s fun persuading grad students to collect spit, but inherently more important?] It seems Prof. Allen also found Barran’s arguments hard to take.

Today the AAUP and Equal Rights Advocates filed amicus briefs in support of Freyd’s appeal. The AAUP brief is here. ERA’s brief is here, it is more interesting, and I’m guessing will be more of a problem for the UO administration:

As a pretty free-market economist, it’s really tiring to hear lawyers trot out “market forces” as an argument. Market forces do all kinds of shitty things – like overproduce negative externalities like pollution and underproduce public goods like education. And no respectable labor economist would argue that the market for professors is anything close to a free market. I thank the ERA for pointing out to the court that this is why we have governments, laws, and courts.

The UO administration’s lawyers have already filed for an extension of time to respond to these arguments, as should be expected given that Barran is billing the university by the hour.




  1. Dog 10/01/2019

    can’t the UO just take Barrans hourly salary associated with this case and give it all to freyd so the matter becomes closed …

    oh that’s right, we have a budget crises, we can’t give faculty more money, we don’t have enough students to justify this, because that is the kind of University we have chosen to become

  2. Cheyney Ryan 10/01/2019

    I am not surprised to hear that U of O’s outside atty from the Portland firm Barran Liebman twisted what Prof Allen told them. Recently, they were hired as outside investigators in a Title IX inquiry in which I was interviewed. They were blatantly dishonest in their representations to me, and reported their conclusions before even bothering to interview all the witnesses–like “Alice in Wonderland” they had the verdict first and the trial afterwards. Their telephone interview with me lasted over three hours, it could have been done in 1/3 that time; plus they had multiple attorneys at the interview, useful only for jacking up the fee–I believe they charged the U of O between $40,000–$50,00 for the whole farce. The U of O has hired them several times as supposedly neutral investigators–though their website states they “exclusively represent management in higher education law”. One of the atty’s interviewing me is estimated by one website to earn over $600,000/year. (Don’t we have our own investigators at the U of O?) He spent part of the interview regaling me with how he’d asked the U of O to fly him and another atty to England (where I was at the time) so they could interview me in person. He even listed the pubs he wanted to visit.

    I have thought about asking that their fee be returned to the U of O and be given to students organization serious about sexual assault/harassment and gender equality.

  3. Richard Bohloff 10/02/2019

    Did they directly tell you they were neutrals? I believe they formally represent the UO administration. If I’m mistaken, i’m sure someone around here could request records that couldn’t be shielded by an attorney client relationship. My experience is that UO contracts and directs investigators to tactically present themselves as vaguely “independent”, but are actually aggressively working as an attorney directly and solely to represent the interests of their client, the administration. This helps give them access to information they can use to their advantage in trial and they will typically not share any portion of the results of their “independent” or “neutral” investigation with an outside party. Usually they are well trained to use weasel words, so I’m wondering if you have them on the record making a claim to be a true neutral?

    • cheyney ryan 10/02/2019

      The Title IX Office told me (in their letter to me) that Barran Liebman had been hired by the U of O to conduct a “fair and impartial investigation”.
      I requested their invoices, which I just received. (Their total cost over $70,000.) But I also requested any emails between the Title IX office and them related to their discussions with me (after the Title IX office refused to respond to my complaints about it.)
      I was told that [1] it would cost me $500 for public records to review the emails; but [2] it would be fruitless, since they were all covered by atty-client privilege.
      I credit public records for telling me that before I wasted my money (having already wasted so much of my time.)

      • Richard Bohloff 10/02/2019

        Nothing like an attorney fiercely and confidentially advocating on behalf of their client to conduct a “fair and impartial” investigation, eh? I guess the firm has already measured their risk/reward for misrepresenting their status as impartial while also advocating for and advising the same client.

  4. Cheyney Ryan 10/02/2019


    After my meandering interview w Barran Liebman (“We’d love to have done this in England…!”) I got interested in what they were charging for all this.

    The investigation–which should have taken one month–cost the U of Oregon $70,165, if you include the “pre-investigation investigation” (that wasted another two hours of my time–much of the “official” interview just repeated what was covered in the “pre-investigation investigation” interview. Questions like: “What is your name? When did you come to the U of O?” And–no kidding–“Did you feel administrators liked you?”).

    I estimate by one of the invoices gotten through public records that one of the attys–but NOT the senior partner involved–was charging $400 an hour (to talk about the pubs he wanted to visit).

    Is there any explanation for all this waste? According to its website, the U of Oregon Title IX Office has at least 6 FULL TIME investigators on staff, PLUS its Title IX director–who is central to any investigation. Much of the investigation for which I was interviewed took place AFTER spring term ended, presumably a slow time for such matters.

    There are lots of worthy causes at the U of O that could use $70,000.

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