For six hours, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents met with attorneys from Jones Day about the law firm’s investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by former OU President David Boren and former Vice President Tripp Hall.
Board Chairwoman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes read a statement to media after the meeting’s adjournment.
“This is a serious matter, and we will carefully consider what we learned today, and we will respond in a timely and prompt manner in accordance with the university’s existing policies and procedures,” Rainbolt-Forbes said.
The regents immediately moved into executive session when the 10 a.m. meeting started.
Board member Phil Albert made the motion for executive session “based upon our attorney’s belief that disclosure would impair the ability of the university to conduct a proper investigation in the public’s best interest.”
Forbes declined to answer questions and was the only regent or university official to speak with media after the meeting. Her comments were limited to the statement she read.
“We have said from the beginning when multiple individuals alleged inappropriate conduct that we wanted an independent investigation to provide us the facts,” she said. “We are satisfied the investigation by Jones Day was thorough, fair, non-biased and objective. This is a serious matter, and we will carefully consider what we learned today, and we will respond in a timely and prompt manner in accordance with the university’s existing policies and procedures.”
Allegations against Boren and Hall are simultaneously being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Background: Timeline of accusations, investigation
The OU Board of Regents hired Jones Day in December 2018 to investigate alleged misreporting of alumni donations, but in February The Oklahoman reported that the firm was also looking into allegations of sexual misconduct by Boren.
Six weeks later, NonDoc published a story detailing allegations from Jess Eddy, a university graduate and former employee. Eddy said that, the morning after drinking in a Houston hotel room with Boren in November 2010, Hall touched his groin area in the back of a vehicle. He also said Boren kissed him and touched his butt in 2011 and 2012 over a period of time when Eddy’s life and alcoholism spiraled.
“He was so powerful and surrounded by so many people that you knew knew,” Eddy told NonDoc. “The only thing you could do about it was to let it happen. The only thing you could do was to mitigate the opportunities for it to get worse.”
Before publishing Eddy’s allegations, NonDoc spoke with five people who knew Eddy in 2010, each of whom confirmed that he had told them the story at the time. Since the publication of the story, five more people have told NonDoc that Eddy had previously told them the same allegations.
Eddy said he first met with Jones Day on the same day The Oklahoman published its story about the sexual misconduct investigation. He said he initially thought his meeting would be about other issues, and when asked about Boren he told them nothing inappropriate had happened between them. Eddy said he even provided Boren’s attorney, Clark Brewster, with a brief letter to that effect. He said he met with Brewster and that Brewster gave him a copy of a Title IX intake report that indicated he was the alleged victim at the center of the sexual misconduct investigation.
Eddy said he called Boren to confront him about the situation, at which time he told the former governor and U.S. Senator that he believed he deserved compensation for pain and suffering. He said Boren denied that anything inappropriate had happened between them. Days later, Eddy approached NonDoc with a desire to make his story public, saying he was at the lowest point in his life and that he “felt all the burden of the unknown number of victims.” He also met with and told his allegations to the Norman Police Department, and he re-interviewed with Jones Day.
NonDoc’s story also detailed a current OU employee’s allegations of inappropriate touching against Hall. The employee, Levi Hilliard, said he told his supervisor of an incident where Hall kissed him on the neck at a university function.
Eddy releases Title IX summary he says Boren’s attorney provided
Tuesday outside the regents meeting at the OUHSC Robert M. Byrd Library, Eddy spoke with media and said he had provided Jones Day “about a dozen” names of witnesses and others worth interviewing for any comprehensive investigation.
Citing “great concerns” about the integrity of the OU and Jones Day investigation, Eddy handed media a document dated Nov. 8, 2018, and labeled “Intake Summary / DLB Allegations.”
Eddy said the document was already redacted as seen below, except for one pronoun in its second line that he redacted to protect the identity of someone he believed was not at fault in the situation. He also said it is not completely accurate in its description of events.
“I’m obviously concerned that this is a university document that was given to the attorney of David Boren,” Eddy said. “This is the document that devastated me and greatly affected me in my decision that I had a responsibility to tell my truth and speak publicly.”
Eddy expressed grave concerns about OU’s legal counsel — Anil Gollahalli — and OU’s Title IX Office, which is designated to receive and process complaints of rape and sexual misconduct involving students, faculty or staff.
“It’s a severe breach of Title IX federal policy on many levels,” Eddy said.
OU Vice President for Marketing and Communications Lauren Brookey watched Eddy’s discussion of the document but said it would be inappropriate for her to comment.
“This is one person’s accounting. I have no way to provide any veracity,” she said of the document.
Brewster did not immediately return a call seeking comment for this story. He has previously said Boren never engaged in inappropriate behavior, and he told media that Boren met with Jones Day attorneys Friday.
(Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7:50 p.m. to include additional information about the Jones Day investigation.)