Board Report on the Independent Investigation | University of Portland

Board Report on the Independent Investigation


We are deeply grateful for the courage of those who shared their experiences and the unrelenting care that our community members have exhibited during this process. The Board of Regents is committed to a diverse, equitable and inclusive UP community. As a Catholic, Holy Cross University, meeting that commitment requires we take action when we learn of areas that need improvement. This report outlines the investigation along with the Board’s actions moving forward.

Catholic Mission

Catholic teachings emphasize how every human individual possesses the dignity of a person who is created in God's own image. At the center of those teachings is the fundamental mandate that every person, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social or economic class, age, or disability is treated fairly and with respect. The Board is committed to the University’s Catholic mission and this commitment necessitates we take actions consistent with our values.


Last summer, the Board launched an independent, third-party investigation into potential racism, sexism and unequal treatment of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ following concerns raised by the Vice President for Human Resources. We write today to share what we have learned through the investigation and our plans for moving forward in collaboration with you, the UP community.


The Board engaged Lathrop GPM to conduct the investigation. They have extensive experience conducting investigations and compliance audits on behalf of institutions in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), workplace misconduct, Title IX and Title VII. The investigation included a review of the allegations raised and interviews with numerous individuals, including faculty, staff, senior University leadership and members of the Board. The investigation is now complete, and the Board is confident that it has sufficient information to enact positive and effective change.


While the University has increased diversity over the past several years, we learned that members of our community have not always felt valued and heard. In general, the Board found that more is needed to advance best practices regarding diversity, equity and inclusion and, in particular, gender equity in leadership positions. We also learned that some people in leadership did not always have an effective reporting process. In light of these findings, the Board has approved a number of action items, including hiring an outside DEI consultant and creating new oversight channels, in order to foster a truly inclusive environment.

Board Actions

The Board has identified and begun to implement several important changes to the University’s policies and procedures. The following action items reflect a focus on enhancing the University’s DEI efforts, compensation and resource allocation, and senior leadership evaluation.

  • Implement a more robust training program for University supervisors, leadership and the Board itself, including:
    • Increasing and enhancing DEI trainings throughout the University.
    • Implementing a training program designed to strengthen the Board of Regents’ governance and oversight.
    • Conducting cultural awareness workshops in connection with the Catholic mission of the University.
  • Hire an outside consultant to assist with and supplement the University’s DEI efforts.
  • Coordinate DEI efforts and resources and consider centralizing them within the University.
  • Develop the University’s compensation structure to formalize systems for setting senior leadership compensation. This structure includes the creation of a Board-level Executive Compensation Committee to oversee consistent decision making around compensation.
  • Conduct annual comprehensive performance reviews of all members of the President’s Leadership Cabinet.
  • Appoint a Board liaison for University leadership in order to raise appropriate concerns directly with the Board if necessary.
  • Review by the Board of the composition and effectiveness of the resource allocation process overseen by the Budget Working Group.
  • Conduct DEI climate surveys regularly and share the results with the UP community to foster transparency and measure improvement in overall DEI efforts.

Looking Forward

While this investigation has concluded, we also understand that there is much to do that will require the help and participation of all of us in the UP community.