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OU employee Levi Hilliard sues university over sexual misconduct by Tripp Hall, allegations of negligence

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Levi Hilliard, an OU staff member and alumnus, speaks in front of Evans Hall May 15.

OU employee Levi Hilliard filed a lawsuit against the university and former administrator Jim "Tripp" Hall, whom he accused of sexual assault and battery in the spring.

The lawsuit seeks $150,000 in damages for sexual assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional duress by Hall. The suit also alleges that multiple high-level administrators knew about or witnessed the misconduct, and seeks $75,000 in damages for negligence by the Board of Regents and $75,000 for relief.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Rand C. Eddy — father of Boren accuser Jess Eddy — followed a notice of tort claim that was filed against the university and Hall in June.

The suit describes multiple instances of alleged misconduct Hall perpetrated against Hilliard on campus during university events, as Hilliard is an employee of the University Club, which catered many administrative events. According to the suit, Hilliard informed his employers and attempted to advance his complaint with them multiple times, yet they took no action to report these instances to OU’s Title IX office — a breach of the Title IX policy, which requires all OU employees to be mandatory reporters.

According to the suit, former OU President David Boren — who was also accused of sexual misconduct in the spring by former OU employee Jess Eddy — was “knowledgeable of and permitted” Hall’s behavior. The suit also alleges “current and former OU employees, the Board’s officer(s) or its agent(s)” were aware of Hall’s history of behavior but were discouraged from reporting for fear of retaliation by senior officials who had witnessed Boren's and Hall’s misconduct.

OU General Counsel Anil Gollahalli and current director of football operations Clarke Stroud — who served 18 years as vice president and dean of students — are among the senior officials who witnessed Hall’s misconduct, the suit alleges. 

“Senior-most OU officials’ failure to report had a chilling effect on the ability of others to report or otherwise remedy ongoing patterns of sexual misconduct and other forms of misconduct,” the lawsuit states. “This amounted to tacit permission of misconduct among the administration, namely in the General Counsel’s failure to direct-report, the Board itself, and instilled a culture of fear that protected former President David Boren and Defendant Hall in the commission of misconduct.”

The suit also alleges Boren, in the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of him for criminal conduct while he was OU president, is also being investigated for questions of whether he “placed person(s) in high-paying positions or gave bonuses for their silence.”

The suit states that during one specific instance, Hall was “visibly intoxicated” and consumed wine from an open bottle meant for serving. Boren, Gollahalli and Executive Secretary to the Board of Regents Chris Purcell were all allegedly aware of the times Hall would consume alcohol to the point of excess and become intoxicated while in the performance of his university duties, according to the suit.

"It is clear the OU administration was negligent in allowing for the conduct of Tripp Hall toward my client," Rand C. Eddy said. "Mr. Hilliard seeks justice not only for himself, but for others.”

In an emailed statement, a university spokesperson said OU is aware of the development but does not comment on ongoing litigation.

"The university has been made aware that the plaintiff has made another amendment to his petition in litigation that has been ongoing," the spokesperson said in the email. "The practice of the university is not to comment on ongoing litigation."

The Daily reached out to Gollahalli, Stroud and Hall but had not received comment by the time of publication.

A PDF is attached below to read the full report.

This article was updated at 11:47 a.m. Sept. 19 to include that Hilliard accused Hall of sexual assault and battery in the spring. This article was also updated at 4:03 p.m. Sept. 19 to include a statement from Rand C. Eddy, and at 4:39 p.m. Sept. 19 to include an amended university statement.

news managing editor

Jordan Miller is a journalism and political science junior serving as The Daily's news managing editor. Previously she served as The Daily's spring 2019 news editor, fall 2018 assistant visual editor and was an SGA beat reporter.

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