UP faculty and staff petition for transparency from outside investigation

An additional petition created by alumni also demands meaningful change

By Austin De Dios | July 9, 2020 11:47pm

A recent petition by UP faculty and staff has demanded transparency from administration. Photo by Wikipedia Commons.

A petition with 289 signatures from faculty and staff was sent to University President Fr. Mark Poorman and the Board of Regents in an email July 7. The petition was supporting the allegations in the opinion piece written by Vice President for Human Resources and Director of Title IX Sandy Chung, which recounted instances of racism and sexism amongst University of Portland administration. 

The petition requested that there be complete transparency in the independent investigation promised by the Office of the President and Board of Regents. 

“We stand in solidarity with the writer of the Beacon op-ed, and we believe her,” the email said. “We urge you to fully cooperate with the independent investigation and make the findings public. We expect immediate transparency about your timeline and process for vetting and hiring investigators specializing in anti-racism and sex/gender discrimination.”

The Beacon contacted Vice President for Marketing and Communications Michael Lewellen for information on the investigation. He declined to release any details. 

“We're not going to share the name of the investigator nor their approach to allow them to do this important work unencumbered and confidentially, as needed,” Lewellen wrote in an email to The Beacon on July 3. 

A similar online petition has been started by UP alumni for all members of the UP community. At this time it has 682 signatures, and calls the University to acknowledge and address the issues of systemic racism in UP culture and leadership. The petition also cites the opinion written by Chung. 

“We ask for meaningful change from the Board of Regents and the University of Portland leadership. We want to see leaders that accurately reflect the student population, which means at least 50% of all leadership positions are held by women and/or BIPOC or both,” the petition from UP alumni reads. It also calls upon university president Fr. Mark Poorman and the Board of Regents to hold UP accountable to “being a safe place for all to thrive in body, mind, and spirit.”

Austin De Dios is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at dedios22@up.edu.