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January 8, 2018 04:12 PM

Now that longtime Democratic Rep. Phil Barnhart has announced he is not running to retain his seat in the Oregon Legislature, the race is starting to heat up.

As we mentioned in our Dec. 28 Slant, Barnhart’s District 11 leans liberal but has enough rural conservatives to make it a real race.

So far EW knows of two Democrats looking to step into Barnhart’s position.

Marty Wilde, a lawyer and health care administrator, has confirmed plans to run for the seat. Wilde has political experience — he serves on the Eugene Police Commission and on the Lane County Performance Audit Committee and is the rules chair for the Democratic Party of Lane County.

Also entering the race is Kimberly Koops-Wrabek, who describes herself on her website as law clerk for SEIU and former union organizer who grew up in rural Oregon and worked in DC for Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. Koops-Wrabek has filed as a candidate with the Oregon Secretary of State and she says she has $4,728 reported on Orestar, which tracks political fundraising and $7,000 including pledges as of Jan. 9.  

No Republicans were listed as having filed as of yet on Orestar.

This story has been updated.

December 29, 2017 06:30 PM

Eugeneans have long known about the presence of local racist Jimmy Marr — he seeks attention with banner drops proclaiming drivel such as “the Holocaust is Hokum” and drives around the state in a truck emblazoned with “It’s okay to be white” or “Do the white thing.”

Area residents were shocked earlier this month however when Bethany Sherman of then-respected local weed lab OG Analytical was outed by antifa groups as a white supremacist.

The Oregonian’s front page story, Emboldened white nationalists? Look no further than this liberal Oregon college town, delves into, Marr, Sherman and Jacob Laskey, an ex-con with white power tattoos who recently claimed responsibility for lighting “hundreds” of copies of EW on fire.

The story looks at the connections between these white supremacists, Eugene’s racist legacy from the Klu Klux Klan and recent upticks in hate crimes and it's worth sitting down for a read that brings some disturbing threads together.

December 29, 2017 04:38 PM

The top clicks on our website for a year can show us what’s important to the community and what draws interest: This year, videos about Trump came out on top, followed swiftly by a slew of articles about the University of Oregon Bach Festival’s firing of artistic director Matthew Halls, and, of course, our ever-popular letters page made it in the top ten. (We only included the top articles in this list though). Check out our top ten hits from 2017.

1. Our top spot goes to the King of America, Donald Trump. This blog post shows the hilarious European response to Donald Trump’s election and had our staff rolling on the floor laughing.

2. Our second most popular article this year broke the news that Matthew Halls had been fired from the UO Bach Festival. This revelation shocked many in the arts community, and drew thousands to our website.

3. Bob Keefer’s follow-up article covered a different firing at the Bach Festival — that of Linda Ackerman. It’s a tale of palace intrigue and drama within the festival.

4. Kratom, an herbal painkiller, faced some legal limbo this year and gained a spot at fourth most viewed article on our website.

5. Meerah Powell’s exposé of the hypocrisy of white Eugene drew a lot of ire from white citizens and a lot of support from citizens of color — as you can read in the comments. With new revelations coming out about local neo-Nazis almost weekly now, it’s a great time to revisit this moving piece.

6. This post about an attack on EW’s building got a lot of attention, letting us know the community cares about us and about crime. We did find the guy, by the way.

7. Bach is back at slot number seven, this time outing some hypocrisy in a press release from University of Oregon.

8. Rape is a horrifying thing, and even more horrifying when not met with justice.

9. Portland area shock jock Dino Costa was fired from KXTG after EW editor Camilla Mortensen exposed that he had called for protesters to get run over by a car while protesting. No one blinked an eye at the time, but after the fatality at Charlottesville, Costa faced the consequences.

10. This post from August predicted the fall of the Bach Festival — a fate that EW Arts Editor Bob Keefer still predicts.

Other contenders that came close included the blog about our newspapers being burned because of an antifa related cover story by reporter Kelly Kenoyer, the fate of the Oregon Country Fair’s Story Pole, several blogs about Bethany Sherman of OG Analytical being outed as a white supremacist, and our cover about the Facebook page, Lane County Mugshots Uncensored, by staff writer Rick Levin. It’s been a great year of reporting for us at EW. Here’s hoping next year is as exciting and inspiring.

December 18, 2017 05:00 PM

Community Rights Lane County is calling for citizens to attend the Dec. 19 Lane County Commissioners meeting 9 am, Dec. 19, in Harris Hall because they say "the ccounty is not acting in good faith in supporting the democratic process and democracy in Lane County."

CRLC continues, that the group is "challenging the Lane County government and the county commissioners for their stonewalling of the democratic process regarding county ballot initiatives. CRLC views that there is a lack of transparency and accountability with how the county is handling the initiative process regarding the county initiative to ban aerial herbicide spraying."

The full press release is below.

Community Rights Lane County (CRLC) is challenging the Lane County government and the county commissioners for their stonewalling of the democratic process regarding county ballot initiatives. CRLC views that there is a lack of transparency and accountability with how the county is handling the initiative process regarding the county initiative to ban aerial herbicide spraying. This initiative is needed to help protect the health and safety of Lane County residents.  

In July of 2016, 4 out of the 5 county commissioners voted in favor of giving themselves the right to disqualify a county ballot initiative if in their opinion, the subject was “not of county concern.” This would have allowed them to block any initiative they didn’t like.  They backed off of this proposal after a large public outcry that they were trying to block the democratic process.  

The Chief Petitioners of the aerial spray ban initiative had every reason to expect that their initiative would appear on the next Lane County ballot after sufficient signatures were collected. Lane County Elections has determined that this initiative has met the requirement for valid signatures collected. Lane County has changed the goal-posts during the middle of the process of this initiative getting on the ballot by changing the requirements to qualify an initiative after the process was already underway. In addition, they have not been transparent in explaining why they are choosing to apply a rule the judge stated was not mandatory, or why they believe the initiative doesn’t meet this “separate vote rule” they are arbitrarily choosing to apply. CRLC views all this as evidence that the county is not acting in good faith in supporting the democratic process and democracy in Lane County.

CRLC is encouraging all concerned citizens of Lane County to attend and speak at the next County Commissioner meeting on December 19th at 9am at Harris Hall (Lane County Courthouse), along with writing their individual county commissioners.  For more information, contact: connect@communityrightslanecounty.org

 

 

December 9, 2017 11:15 AM

Minutes from a meeting of the Oregon Bach Festival “Friends of the Festival” Board of Directors called last summer confirm previous reports that University of Oregon administrators fired popular artistic director Matthew Halls without once consulting the board, whose members were furious when they read of the firing in Eugene Weekly.

Halls, a popular British conductor, had been brought in to lead the 47-year-old festival into a new era following the retirement of founding artistic director Helmuth Rilling. His unexplained termination on Aug. 24, later publicly connected to suggestions of sexual impropriety, caused an international uproar in the music world after EW broke the story on Aug. 27.

The minutes were among hundreds of pages of board documents released Friday, Dec. 8, by the University of Oregon to EW in response to a public records request. Though the board is advisory only, its members include politically powerful community members and donors.

OBF co-founder Royce Saltzman said he felt “ready to resign from the board” in the wake of the firing, the minutes of the Aug. 28 meeting show.

And board chairman Brad Stangeland said at the meeting he didn’t trust the UO administration, didn’t feel trusted in return, and questioned whether he could continue to serve as chairman.

UO Provost Jayanth Banavar and Deputy General Counsel Doug Park talked at the meeting about Halls’ termination and an Aug. 27 news release from the UO that laid out a completely new artistic direction for the 47-year-old music festival.

The release, since widely mocked in the music world, suggested the festival would go forward without a single artistic director, saying simply it was “parting ways” with Halls and would use “guest curators” in the future.

Saltzman demanded  to know why the board hadn’t been consulted in advance of the firing or the announcement. Park said the board’s charter gives it authority to advise only over hiring, not firing, and keeping the board in the dark protected members from liability. UO administrators had planned to meet with the board to explain the firing, he said, but EW broke the story before that happened. “UO could have done better in its response,” Park is quoted as saying.

Stangeland said that music festival directors around the country “are generally astonished” and said the UO’s statement of a new artistic vision did fall under the board’s authority.

Park replied that the UO “made the decision to put out the statement they did to protect OBF, the university staff and the board.”

The minutes offer few new insights into what may have led to Halls’ termination. Phyllis Berwick, a board member and major OBF donor, said at the meeting that Halls was “given a warning a year ago.”

OBF executive director Janelle McCoy also said at the meeting that then-Senior Vice Provost Doug Blandy issued Halls a reprimand last year. There was no follow-up as there would have been for an employee, she said, because Halls was an independent contractor.

The reprimand may have come after an acrimonious dispute between Halls and McCoy at the board’s 2016 retreat that EW has previously reported.

Park said at the meeting, without further explanation, that “some of the behavior” for which Halls was terminated “did not occur during the festival.”

Again without adding details, the minutes show that Banavar told the board that “the complaints reached a level where the UO had to respond.”

Banavar also defended the initial statement the university put out about the firing because “something had to go out immediately,” the minutes say, but “now he understands that the statement was inaccurate and wrong.”

Park told the board that the UO chose not to terminate Halls immediately, for cause, because “that would require revealing the identity of the complainants.”

The minutes suggest that unnamed “investigators” met with at least one complainant against Halls and interviewed others by telephone. “UO investigators researched the complaints,” the minutes quote Park as saying. “The type of contact at issue may have been seen before.”

After his firing, Halls signed a non-disparagement agreement with the UO and has been unwilling to comment on the situation.

December 8, 2017 04:28 PM

After allegations came out that Bethany Sherman of OG Analytical is involved with white supremacist groups, Sherman told several news outlets that she was stepping down from her CEO position at the company and said she would sell the business. But sources inside the company say she instead fired all the employees and may not be resigning at all.

An ex-employee of OG Analytical who wishes to remain anonymous for her own safety says she and the entire staff were fired on Wednesday, Dec. 6 after a confrontation at the office. “We all met,” the source says. “It sounded like she was going to step down, she sent out a text that she was going to resign.”

But when Sherman arrived at the office to sign over operations to another employee, the ex-employee says “She was screaming emotionally out of control, I was talking firmly that she had put us all in danger and buried herself with what she sent to The Oregonian.” This account was corroborated in an Oregonianinterview with Rodger Voelker of OG Analytical.

That recent Oregonianarticle quoted Sherman saying, “I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I'm not ashamed of my heritage,” though she says she’s not a part of any neo-Nazi organization. Her beliefs were made public after a Eugene Antifa and Rose City Antifa article was published tying Sherman and her partner to messages in a Discord chat group and to two Twitter accounts that espouse white nationalist beliefs.

Before these allegations came out, Sherman was seen by many in the cannabis community as a woman leader, but her personal beliefs did not match the façade, according to the ex-employee. “I mean she was showcasing as a feminist, but she’s not, she’s mad about the feminist movement.”

The ex-employee at OG Analytical says she was surprised by Sherman’s white supremacist views coming out, but now says she looks back and sees some signs. She says she is considering filing complaints about some of Sherman’s work practices with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

The source says she’s afraid for her life after the confrontation on Wednesday. “They’re radicals, you can’t put anything past these guys,” she says. “I’m literally looking for an AR [-15] pointed at my head when I’m walking around.”
“I’m sure there’s more of her in our community than we’re aware of,” the ex-employee says. ““I’m just not feeling like I can trust anybody.”

Sherman did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

In response to the Sherman debacle, Christina Ketchum of GreenSea Distribution has pulled together a statement of nondiscrimination by Eugene and Portland area cannabis businesses to “ address the recent news our local cannabis industry has been presented with.”

December 7, 2017 03:19 PM

Eugene Weeklyis getting reports the local cannabis store Eugene OG has been been getting harrassing phone calls, messages and Google reviews based on the assumption Eugene OG is linked to OG Analytical. One of OG Analytical's owners, Bethany Sherman, has annouced she is resigning and selling the company after a web report by several antifa groups, including Rose City Antifa and Eugene Antifa, exposed Sherman as having white supremacist views.

Eugene OG tells EW in a statement that "Eugene OG is in no way affiliated with or shares ownership with the testing lab 'OG Analytical,' despite the similarity of our names."

A quick glance at Eugene OG's Google listing shows the store has a growing number of people asking questions such as "Why does this business support Nazis"" And "Why does the owner hate people of color."

Eugene OG has tried to clarify it is not affiliated with OG Analytical and questions then ask why the company is selling products tested by OG Analytical. 

OG Analytical is one of only three labs listed on the Oregon Health Authority website that are based in Eugene. As of this time, it does not appear other cannabis businesses in the area are being queried online via Google reviews if they are affiliated with OG Analytical. According to The Oregonian, when the employeees of OG Analytical found out about Sherman's views they "angrily confronted her."

December 6, 2017 03:03 PM

Following an explosive anonymous report by Eugene Antifa, Rose City Antifa and PNW Antifacist Workers' Collective exposing Bethany Sherman of Eugene-based OG Analytical and her husband Matthew Combs as alleged white supremacists, Sherman said in a statement to The Oregonian that she is stepping down and selling the company.  

 

In the article, “Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Blackhat: The Nazis in Your Neighborhood,” the anonymous antifa writers say they got access to logs from an app called Discord, commonly used by gamers, but apparently also used by neo-Nazis.

 

Using those logs, as well as photos and research on Twitter and social media, the antifa groups lay out a damning case with their allegations against Combs and Sherman. “Combs acts not only as an organizer for American Patriots Brigade, but he serves as a primary organizing leader for the individuals and groups participating in the server. He aims to bring white nationalists together in the region with the goal of establishing a whites only homeland in the Pacific Northwest,” they write.

 

The group shows a tweet from “Mrs. Blackhat” from an account they tie to Sherman, in which she says things like, “Jimmy I love how you always take the high ground no matter how much shit these libtards sling.”

 

The Jimmy in question is Springfield-based white supremacist Jimmy Marr, who tweets as @genocidejimmy.

 

In a Twitter chat, the "Blackhat" article shows an image of, she praises a love swastika sticker Marr created from a diversity emblem and offers to change the wording so “It doesn’t say stupid shit like we are all one race.”

 

The article has photos that the writers say are of Combs sieg heiling with Marr in front of his house, which is adorned with signs reading “The Holocaust is Hokum.”

 

Eugene Weekly contacted Sherman after seeing the “Blackhat” story. While she did not deny the allegations, she did threaten legal action if EW wrote about the story.

 

 

She writes:

“Thanks for reaching out. I'm incredibly shocked and appalled by all of this. I would love to meet with you to discuss, but this is a very sensitive matter; I've retained legal counsel and am waiting to receive advice back from my lawyer about how to handle communications around this event. We're taking this matter very seriously in a legal regard, and I have to ask and advise you and the Eugene Weekly to refrain from publishing any information about this article or anything else regarding me, my family, or my company until we've addressed the matter internally. As I'm sure you're aware, this article and any further attention to it puts me, my family, and my company at risk of financial loss.” 

 

While she denied being a “neo-Nazi” to The Oregonian, the statement she issued speaks as to where Sherman stands on white supremacy.

 

I find it extremely disconcerting that it is admired and revered to have "Gay Pride," "Black Pride," "Asian Pride," or pride in any other cultural heritage, but if you have "White Pride," it automatically makes you a Nazi, and you are ostracized, attacked, and lynched by your community. I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I'm not ashamed of my heritage. And I admit that I have been so conditioned to feel shame about this pride that I discreetly sought community where I could. 

 

The full statement is here, and Sherman also details the good she says she has done in the community and denies discrimination. “Neither myself, nor my company has in any way acted in a discriminatory fashion against anyone for their race, religion, politics, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, disability or other,” she says.

 

EW, which has written in the past about Sherman and OG Analytical, has reached out to Sherman for further comment on the allegations as well as to Rose City Antifa, which sent the paper the story.

 

In the bio of the Twitter account the writers link to Sherman, they say Sherman describes herself as “"#nationalist mommy. Our children deserve to be raised in a wholesome environment free of oppression against whites.”

December 4, 2017 02:20 PM

With humor, love and a deep well of obscenity, the Kinsey Sicks’ Things You Shouldn’t Say blows the roof off the house. These performers combine gorgeous harmonies with wit and shtick and silliness, and something more, too — with story, revealing history and biography, of themselves, the group and the long, painful struggle for gay rights.

Sure, they’re funny, and of course they’re talented. But in this show they challenge us to a new understanding. It’s time to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Dragapella Quartet.

There are so many things you shouldn’t say that Kinsey Sicks talk about openly and with great gusto; it’s delicious, and when they shared moments personal — and universal —it was especially poignant to hear at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, in Eugene, Oregon, on World AIDS Day.

The Kinsey Sicks bring the past to the present. This hatred? Bigotry? We’ve been here before.

The troupe offers solace, commitment, leading the charge to put the “rage” in outrageous — they welcome all to the flock of weirdos and delinquents, a ragtag group of freaks that this cis ally is honored to join. They’re made-up with pastels and boas and painted eyebrows, and because they’ve lived through vile hatred, and they’re still smiling, still creating, still loving, they’re each more “man” than most straight men will ever be.

I walked away from the performance with a new sense of humanness, an inclusion that’s made possible when we let down our guards. Aristotle notes that humor weakens defenses. We could all learn a thing or two from the Sicks — and their founders, and their communities.

Thank goodness, the Kinsey Sicks are here to stay.

The Kinsey Sicks played Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, at Oregon Contemporary Theatre.

December 1, 2017 05:38 PM

A proposed logging project could affect thousands of acres of land that Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument is trying to protect. The public can comment on the project until Dec. 4.

The logging project, called the Hwy 46 Project, seeks to trim, thin and burn select forest areas in the Breitenbush Watershed, approximately 6 miles northeast of Detroit, Oregon. In addition to improving stand growth, the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) says the project aims to reduce hazardous fuels and restore sugar pine population, as well as produce forest products for the local economy.

“Restoration thinning does provide logs and jobs in the forests and the mills,” David Stone, president of Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument says. “We aren’t opposed to the timber industry making money and thinning projects allow that to happen. As long as the purpose of the thinning is to set the forest back on path to becoming a natural forest.”

The group has not yet officially proposed the national monument, but says it fears the logging will homogenize the forest, open more avenues for invasive species and create swathes of damaged land. “Natural forests are all intact,” Stone says. “When you clear cut you create these patches of damaged tree stands. And when you get endangered species in a forest they don’t do well when their habitat is all cut up into patches.”

Three potential paths are outlined in the DEIS. Alternative one is to do nothing, letting the forest sort itself out. The DEIS provides projections for the impact not intervening in the forest will have. Alternative two — which the DEIS supports — includes allowing commercial logging of fire regenerated areas.

“Alternative two doesn’t allow the forest to be what it wants to be,” Stone says. “We want the protection of stream buffers. If they do re-planting, they need to vary the species … natural forests don’t grow one species, all in a line, all the same age.”

Alternative three, which the Friends conditionally support, allows for the logging of 2,652 acres of land — exempting “virgin natural forests” from logging — compared to the proposed plan, which calls for treating 3,515 acres in total.

“Friends of Douglas-fir National Monument is supportive of scientifically sound, ecological restoration thinning of plantations, where thinning will accelerate the return of a more diverse, natural forest,” Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument wrote in an alert. “However, we are adamantly opposed to any logging in virgin natural forests.”

Anyone interested in participating has until Dec. 4 to comment on the process at cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=47109

November 22, 2017 12:02 PM

Last weekend was the first time a protest directly affected me. Driving back into the city from a school field trip, we encountered a traffic jam. I assumed it was rush hour traffic and didn’t worry. However, after 15 minutes had gone by and we had moved mere inches, a feeling of restlessness swept over the bus.

We were, according to our maps, 5 minutes away from our drop-off point. We looked out the windows, and I saw more people than I have ever seen at one time. Hundreds of thousands of people had filled the city to demand the release of eight former Catalan government officials. This was the first pro-independence protest I had seen since the declaration of independence on Oct. 27 and proved that the Catalan independence movement was still going strong.

Some estimated that 1,000 cars had driven into Barcelona that day. Combined with two main streets closing, this had created a huge traffic jam throughout the whole city. 

Despite the strikes and protests, the city is still very busy and touristy areas are filled with people. A few city-wide general strikes have been called, and these can briefly interrupt daily life, but I’m always impressed that most things can go on as normal.

The movement is huge and the desire for independence is strong, but the commitment to being peaceful is even more powerful. It is interesting to compare this movement, the top political drama in Spain, with some of the political debates in the U.S.. In my Spanish class the other day, my teacher brought up the debate over gun control in the U.S. In her opinion, the independence movement would be a lot more dangerous if everyone was allowed to have guns.

I still get most of my news from teachers and the people in my program. Occasionally, I will get notifications from my U.S. CNN app, but only when something really big happens. There is not a lot of coverage of the protests or the minor events in the U.S. news outlets I follow. This is too bad, because what is happening is really a big deal and more people should know what is happening.

The Spanish government has denied the Catalan people their voice and their right to democracy. Even if I believe that Catalan independence is not the right solution, those who are pro-independence deserve the right to express their opinions and vote on issues that are important to them.

At the beginning of the semester, I though the protests would only last until the vote on Oct. 1, and after that things would die down and the protests would fade away. However, the pro-independence movement has been very resilient and people keep pushing for their rights. I am impressed with their determination and it appears that the political unrest will last for the rest of the semester. Although it is hard to predict what will happen, I am confident the Catalan pride will remain strong.

Harper Johnson is graduate of South Eugene High School and former EW summer intern. She is on a study abroad program in Barcelona through Arcadia University and taking classes at Pompeu Fabra University.  

November 16, 2017 02:54 PM

A distinguished University of Oregon human physiology instructor was sentenced to a year of probation and anger management courses after pleading guilty to multiple charges stemming a road rage car crash.

Jon Runyeon, 45, was driving north down Hilyard Street toward 11th Avenue in July 2017 when another car cut him off and he crashed into it, causing a “fender bender,” he told Judge Wayne Allen Wednesday at Eugene Municipal Court.

Runyeon told Allen he then backed up his car and drove it forward again into the other car, “tapping” it for a second time before driving away without saying a word to the other driver.

“It was an awful moment,” Runyeon said in court Wednesday. “All I can say is it was uncharacteristic, and I’m ashamed about it.”

Shortly after the hit-and-run, police came to Runyeon’s home asking for more information about the incident, and from then on Runyeon cooperated with police, his lawyer said in court.

Runyeon, who according to UO’s website is the director of undergraduate advising, the director of the human anatomy laboratory, and an instructor in the school’s human physiology department, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to hit-and-run and criminal mischief charges.

Allen sentenced Runyeon to a year of probation on each of his charges, eight days of road crew service, two Saturdays of anger management classes and a $500 fine. Allen said in court it was unfortunate to see Runyeon in the courtroom in this situation given his prominent role at UO and in the community.

“I’ve been here for a while and I just don’t see these types of things very often,” Allen said.

Runyeon agreed with Allen that taking anger management classes as part of his sentence “seems reasonable.”

According to UO’s website, Runyeon is known by his students as a “rock star of anatomy education.” He currently teaches Human Anatomy I and a few other lecture and laboratory courses at UO, while overseeing the cadaver dissection program and serving as one of the human physiology department’s main undergraduate advisors.

In 2016, Runeyon received one of UO’s distinguished teaching awards, the Ersted Award for Specialized Pedagogy, which “recognizes faculty members early in their careers who have demonstrated exceptional abilities to induce students to reason and who have expertise in a particular area of teaching.”

When contacted Thursday morning, UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said he was not aware of Runyeon’s case and would look into it, but that any potential disciplinary action taken against Runyeon would not be shared publicly due to UO’s faculty record policy. He later said via text, “He is still employed. That’s really all I’d have to say.”

An article about Runyeon on UO’s website reads, “Jon’s student evaluations are filled with words such as ‘amazing; awesome; best ever; passionate; exceptional; respectful; and caring. He is tireless in his dedication to student growth and is a true mentor and guide to his students.”

November 15, 2017 05:57 PM

Oregon Bach Festival’s former artistic director Matthew Halls denied in a statement issued Wednesday, Nov. 15, that he had ever before now seen the charges of sexual discrimination lodged against him in documents released to Eugene Weekly this week by the University of Oregon.

"I am reading about these complaints for the first time now,” Halls wrote in the statement, which was released by Portland lawyer Charese Rohny. “At no stage did anybody from the University of Oregon or the Oregon Bach Festival leadership present me — or my attorney — with these documents.”

Halls went on to say he values diversity and to apologize to “anyone who felt I valued one gender over another.”

In an online story published Tuesday, Nov. 14, EW described a sex discrimination complaint filed by an unnamed OBF participant after the festival last summer. The woman musician complained that Halls slighted her and other female musicians by not paying them as much attention in rehearsals as he gave to male musicians.

The document does not show that Halls was ever presented with the complaint, but notes that OBF Executive Director Janelle McCoy sent an email to a university official on Aug. 16 that Halls’ contract with the festival would not be renewed. He was fired on Aug. 24.

Halls’ entire statement is below.

I am reading about these complaints for the first time now. At no stage did anybody from the University of Oregon or the Oregon Bach Festival leadership present me — or my attorney — with these documents. I was not given any opportunity to respond to these complaints before my contract was terminated. At no time did UO leadership talk to me about any impropriety on my part or suggest any changes in my teaching methods or treatment of musicians.

As a life-long musician and performer, I have always valued diversity among those I work with because it greatly enriches the quality of our work. Until now, I was unaware of any concerns about my treatment of the OBF musicians when I was Artistic Director. I apologise to anyone who felt that I favoured one gender over another. I do not in any way intend to favour a particular gender and I wish I had been given an opportunity to address these concerns while I was still employed.

November 14, 2017 06:27 PM

Sen. Ron Wyden has requested a meeting with University of Oregon President Michael Schill following Schill’s response to the senator’s letter requesting specific practices and university guidelines pertaining to sexual assault on campus.

On Nov. 3, Wyden sent Schill a letter asking five questions about procedures relating to sexual conduct violations and whether the university followed its own policies when it was notified that basketball player Kavell Bigby-Williams was under criminal investigation for alleged forcible rape.

The letter followed an investigative article in Sports Illustrated that delved into the Bigby-Williams case.

 “I love my alma mater and want to get this fixed as soon as possible — a goal that of course means I would meet with President Schill,” Wyden says in an email to Eugene Weekly. “That meeting would benefit immensely from including Brenda Tracy, a nationally recognized Oregon voice on the topic of sexual assault.”

Hank Stern with Wyden’s office tells EW in an email, “Sen. Wyden looks forward to meeting with the university president about the school following its own procedures that balance the achievable need to protect student privacy with the essential goal of keeping campuses safe for all students.”

Stern continues, “It’s clear from the university’s answers to the questions Wyden raised that more work remains to improve campus safety, including establishing and abiding by clear and consistent processes when allegations of sexual misconduct arise.

“Wyden believes it’s critical to engage in a national conversation on these issues and work with colleges, athletic departments, policymakers and nationally respected advocates like Brenda Tracy to further the cause of promoting campus safety.”

Earlier this month, EW asked Wyden what he thinks needs to happen in order to ensure student safety on campus.

“There’s got to be a zero-tolerance policy,” Wyden said.

EW interviewed Tobin Klinger, UO’s Senior Director of Public Affairs Communications, on Nov. 9 about the Sports Illustrated story that called into question the university’s own response to following its policies regarding Title IX.

“The victim or the alleged victim in this situation made it abundantly clear that she did not wish for anything to move forward,” Klinger said. “So the university then, based on its policy and practices, assesses that, and then says, ‘Is there an ongoing threat to campus that we need to take into consideration that would override her ability to assert what she wants to have happen?’”

In this case was there was no ongoing threat “that was perceived in any way, shape or form,” Klinger said. “And the allegation that is out there is that we should have gone further.”

Klinger said the story reflected “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

The author of the SI story is former EW intern and current UO student Kenny Jacoby.

EW asked Klinger if the university considered evidence outside of the university as part of an ongoing threat, specifically the police report from Wyoming.

“No, because the police report from Wyoming set in motion what brought us to the point that it was assessed, and when you’re looking at an ongoing threat, you’re looking at whether or not there is a direct risk to the campus based on the information you have,” Klinger said. “And there was nothing in the police report or brought in external to the police report that would indicate that there was an ongoing threat.”

In Schill’s response to Wyden, he wrote: “Our staff responds to more than 450 disclosures a year and we welcome the opportunity to share information with policy makers. I will not claim that we are perfect, but I think you would be proud of our efforts.”

Schill also says, “In fact, the UO has been a leader in developing prevention programs and student-centric reporting obligations for faculty and staff.”

As the Sports Illustrated story points out, the UO made headlines with the way it handled rape allegations against three basketball players in 2014. The school later settled with the victim for $800,000, four years’ paid tuition and a promise of changes in how the school assesses transfer students. 

In 2015, a sexual violence survey conducted by the UO Department of Psychology found that 27 percent of women on campus reported “any attempted or completed sexual contact without consent.”