OU Tells Boren Accuser He Was In A 'Hostile Work Environment'
NORMAN, Oklahoma - In a letter sent to an accuser of OU’s former president David Boren, the University of Oklahoma showed for the first time any signs that something was amiss during Boren's time as president.
The letter sent from the Office of Institutional Equity and written by OU's Interim Sexual Misconduct Officer, Kristen Burkett said after finding sufficient evidence Boren accuser Jess Eddy had been subjected to a "hostile working environment." The letter was provided to News9/Newson6 by Mr. Eddy.
Part of the sufficient evidence, according to the letter, included what Eddy gave to the Jones Day law firm, which was in charge of the million-dollar investigations into claims of sexual assault and financial misconduct against Boren, including claims made by Eddy. Jones Day investigators wrote in a report to OU’s board of regents that Eddy gave them information consistent with what was said by other individuals and said he was generally credible.
On Wednesday, OU spokesperson Lauren Brookey said Tripp Hall was not under investigation. "Jones Day hasn't investigated allegations related to Tripp Hall. They were not hired to do so," she said.
Eddy was the first to publicly accuse Boren and Hall of sexual assault while he worked in the office of the president in 2010. Both men have strongly denied the allegations made against them.
Attempts to reach their attorney, Clark Brewster, were unsuccessful. Brewster however called the men’s accusers “publicity seeking rabble” in an article in the Oklahoman over the weekend.
The letter says OU notified the University Board of Regents of the findings but said OU cannot do anything more because Boren cut ties with the university. It's unclear whether the Board was notified before or after Boren's complete departure.
At the time of that announcement Eddy said the Regents should have taken a more active role in Boren's ousting.
“I think it's really inappropriate that Boren was allowed to resign,” Eddy said earlier this month. “I think the regents have ample information and evidence that should have precipitated a termination and a long time before now.”
OU also offered Eddy confidential over -the-phone counseling services for former employees and students through Magellan EAP Services. When called the number does not appear to connect to a specific service for alleged victims of Boren or Hall.
“We identified a need to provide counseling services for some former students and employees. [Human Resources] arranged for the service to be expanded during this process but we will continue to utilize as necessary in other cases in the future,” OU Spokesperson Lauren Brookey said on Tuesday. She added the services were the same ones already being provided broadly to employees.
News of the letter comes as the OU Board of Regents are on a three day retreat in Sulphur which include public meetings. The agenda for the three days included discussion on tuition and CART services in Norman as well as a special meeting, but there was no mention of any discussion of the ongoing investigations into the criminal allegations made against Boren and Hall.
The revelation also comes as another accuser, Levi Hilliard, has filed suit against Hall and is working to include OU as an institution in the suit, through Oklahoma tort laws.
The allegations against Boren and Hall are also being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and a Multicounty Grand Jury.
OU ended its internal investigation upon Boren’s official resignation but has not released any of the investigation findings.
*Last edited June 27, 2019.