Administrator goes public with concerns about racism and sexism within UP administration

Administration and Regents pledge outside investigation, but details are vague

By Gabi DiPaulo | July 3, 2020 4:16pm

Sandy Chung at the President's Cabinet in fall 2019.

Media Credit: Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Sandy Chung, Vice President for Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, has come forward as the anonymous author of the opinion submission, “Racism, Sexism, Tokenism: My Experiences as a Woman of Color at University of Portland” published on July 1. Chung disclosed her identity in an email sent to faculty and staff today

Chung’s 4,500 word piece detailed a variety of allegations regarding systemic and individual racism and sexism at the highest levels of UP. It was also published to Medium as well as shared with the Instagram account @blackatuniversityofportland

In today’s email, Chung wrote that she had decided to come forward publicly because she was inspired by the many students, staff and faculty who had reported concerns to her in her position as head of Title IX and Human Resources.

“It was terrifying to share my concerns publicly,” Chung wrote. “I decided to share my identity because I need to follow your example. During my time at UP, many of you have sat with me and asked if you could report anonymously. I have replied yes but that anonymous reporting can make it difficult for the University to gather enough information to address a situation.” 

“The administration has announced that they will investigate my concerns,” Chung continued. “This is one necessary step. However, much more is needed including transparent accountability by the administration after the investigation is finished.” 

Several hours after The Beacon published the anonymous article, the Office of the President sent a campus-wide email noting that administration and the Board of Regents had read the piece. 

“An independent, outside investigator has been retained to conduct an investigation into the concerns,” the email said.

The email listed Chair of the Board of Regents Thomas Arndorfer, Vice Chair Kay Toran, and University president Fr. Mark Poorman as signatories. 

On Thursday, The Beacon attempted to contact all three to obtain details on the investigation, including who had been retained as investigator. Vice President for Marketing and Communications Michael Lewellan responded with an email on behalf of all of them. 

“These plans are taking shape and will begin soon,” the email said. “Investigations evolve at their own pace, and are driven by the facts as they’re revealed. It is premature to forecast any specific timeline or discuss our approach. The Board of Regents and our Leadership Cabinet are taking this matter very seriously. This investigation will be focused and thorough.”

The email did not identify who had been retained to conduct the investigation, or confirm that an investigator was on the case. 

A group of faculty and staff plan to send a letter to the administration and Board of Regents in support of Chung and calling for full transparency. 

In Chung’s email today, she wrote that she hopes for institutional changes that go beyond addressing her specific experiences. 

“The University has a responsibility to thoroughly receive and investigate all concerns from UP community members and to address them appropriately in a transparent manner,” Chung wrote. “The University also has a responsibility to address systemic issues of racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination, exclusion, and oppression in a systematic manner.”

Austin De Dios contributed to this story.

Gabi DiPaulo is the Editor-in-Chief for The Beacon. She can be reached at