Oregon Health & Science University lacks clear policies on handling, documenting and investigating reported misconduct, an inquiry by former Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm has found.
The law firm said the lack of clear policies by the school, one of Portland’s largest employers, leads to inconsistent discipline and a lack of trust among staff and students, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
The $6.5 million review released by the university on Thursday also said the school has failed to create an inclusive environment where people feel welcome or safe.
The university hired Holder and his Washington, D.C.-based firm Covington & Burling to investigate its response to sexual misconduct and discrimination claims following a high-profile harassment lawsuit filed against the school and a former anesthesiology resident known for dancing in his scrubs on social media.
Holder’s firm in the spring received hundreds of reports from staff or students describing alleged sexual harassment, gender harassment, bullying and racial discrimination or relating to the university’s failure to hold violators accountable.
“We’re certainly sorry and apologize that there are so many of our members that have experienced things that we don’t want them to experience,” OHSU President Dr. Danny Jacobs told the newspaper. “It’s just redoubled our attention and senior leadership’s attention to continue to address those concerns and do them as quickly as possible.”
OHSU has over 19,000 staff members and about 4,000 students. It offers medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and public health schools, and it runs two hospitals and research centers and clinics.
In May, the university agreed to pay $585,000 to settle the lawsuit brought by a social worker who accused Dr. Jason Campbell of sexually assaulting her and the school of failing to take action.
A university investigation concluded Campbell violated the institution’s harassment policy and code of conduct with unwanted touching and inappropriate messages. Campbell was referred for dismissal but resigned before being fired, according to the university.
John Kaempf, a former lawyer for Campbell, had written to the plaintiff’s lawyers that Campbell denied liability and was deeply in debt.
The law firm’s 51-page report said the university must bolster its policies on mandatory reporting, revise procedures to clarify who must report alleged sexual assault or harassment and adopt “strong non-retaliation provisions.”
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