Levi Hilliard and Jess Eddy waited patiently outside a closed-door meeting of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents for nearly seven hours Thursday. The men have accused former OU president David Boren and former Vice President Trip Hall of sexual misconduct, which Boren and Hall deny.
“I'm here today to show that the victims are watching,” Hilliard said. “I’m also hoping that maybe we'll get some kind of actual update, rather than these absolutely meaningless platitudes that they've been spewing after every meeting.”
But that didn’t happen. The regents walked swiftly past Hilliard, Eddy and the press after the meeting ended, offering no new information.
It has been one month since the board was first briefed on a private investigation into sexual misconduct allegations by Jones Day law firm, and Thursday’s meeting was the fourth time the regents have met to discuss “personnel investigations.”
"We are satisfied with the investigation by Jones Day and believe it was fair, non-biased, thorough and objective," said chair Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes following the board’s April 9 meeting.
What We Know So Far
Hilliard works at the Jan Marie and Richard J. Crawford University Club, a restaurant on campus that catered to members only until recently. It was there, he says, that Hall committed multiple acts of sexual battery against him. Hilliard said he decided to go public with his story in April after speaking with Eddy about his experiences and because of past trauma.
“When I was 9 years old I was raped, and I never told anyone until I was in college.” Hilliard explained. “The first person I told was my mom, and I found out that the boy who had raped me had gone on to rape and murder a 7-year-old girl. I have to live with that every day for the rest of my life, and I will not live with the notion that Tripp Hall and David Boren will have the ability to continue doing this.”
Eddy came forward in March. He told NonDoc that Hall acted inappropriately toward him once, while Boren repeatedly victimized him. Eddy has spoken with Jones Day, but he initially lied to the firm, before coming out with what he now says is the truth: that he fielded unwanted sexual advances and touching while working as Boren’s teaching assistant eight years ago.
“I was protecting myself,” Eddy said “I made the mistake of not telling my truth initially. It took me about a month or so to realize what to do, and I tried my best to do the right thing as soon as I understood what was the right thing to do.”
Both Eddy and Hilliard say they know of other victims of Boren and Hall who have not gone public.
“I'm in touch with other victims of Boren and Hall. I do not know if they'll choose to come forward,” Eddy said. “My hope would be that they do, but I understand why some of them have decided not to.
Hilliard says he believes others will come forward.
“They have to do it in their own time,” HIlliard said.
Both Hilliard and Eddy have called for the public release of the Jones Day report, which they say has been shared with Boren.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into Boren and Hall. Hillard says he has spoken with OBSI, but that he was never contacted by Jones Day. Eddy, on the other hand, did speak with Jones Day, something he says he was legally obligated to do because of his severance package.
It’s unclear if Jones Day has shared its report with OSBI. Its origin and scope are still unknown.