The Oregon Health and Science University, a public university where most of Oregon’s higher education in the fields of medicine and life sciences is taught, has hired the law firm of Covington & Burling to conduct an internal investigation resulting from complaints by an unspecified number of black employees about the OHSU administration enabling racism.
The investigation will be headed by former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder, who will be charging the public university $2300 an hour for his legal services. According to the statement put out by the University:
OHSU has retained former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of Covington & Burling LLP to conduct a comprehensive, independent investigation of OHSU’s workplace environment related to sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and racism.
This is a public university in Oregon, with its main facilities in the City of Portland — maybe the “wokest” of all “woke” cities in the country — and run by a University President, Danny Jacobs, who is black, and overseen by a Board of Directors chaired by Wayne Monfries who is also black. Working on the matter with Covington & Burling will be Chad Paulson, another member of the Board of Directors — also black.
“The intent of this investigation is to identify any potential shortcomings, and to solicit and consider actionable recommendations that ensure our institution is aligned with the highest demands and expectations,” the university said. “Based on the investigation’s findings, OHSU will evaluate potential policy changes, accountability, other best practices and targeted investments to ensure every OHSU member feels safe, respected and valued in their workplace.”
Let that sink in for a moment — the university is not promising to actually do anything based on whatever Holder and Covington & Burling uncover and report back to them. They’ll “evaluate” things after he’s done.
How did this all start — apparently with some of the most expensive graffiti ever written on a locker in the history of the world. According to the Lund Report:
Seven months after accusing the Oregon Health & Science University administration of being “an enabler of racism,” Black employees at OHSU are facing a new racist incident.
This one involves a racist slur that was found on an OHSU locker.
In a campus-wide note, the administration said the slur was etched onto the outside of a locker on the third floor of the Center for Health & Health Building on the South Waterfront. It said it was hard to see — it was on the side near the wall — and was found by an employee who reported it on Feb. 26. It’s unclear how long the slur had been there.
All I needed to know about OHSU I found in the very first paragraph that came before any discussion of the subject matter of the public statement or the announcement of the hiring of Holder and Covington & Burling:
Content warning: In support of trauma-informed communications, please be aware that this message contains topics that may be activating for survivors of gender and racial violence. The Confidential Advocacy Program can be reached 24/7 by calling 833-495-2277. Additional resources for OHSU members are available here
Dig deep taxpayers of Oregon — Eric Holder is dining out on you, and it’s all over some graffiti on a locker that was hard to see and no one knows how long it had been there or who wrote it.