Former UOPD officer James Cleavenger is suing the UO for wrongful termination, stating that a portion of the decision was based off of his negative opinion of a complied “bowl of dicks” list authored by UOPD officers. The list and its containing lawsuit were unearthed by UO Matters and was first reported by the Register-Guard.
The names and terms on the list – which range from politicians to famous personas such as Chelsea Handler and even particular crowds such as “mouth breathers” – were put there when UOPD officers disliked them for one reason or another. In the opinion of the officers, those referred to on the list were entitled to “eat a bowl of dicks,” according to the lawsuit.
Cleavenger is a graduate of UO Law and currently works as a clerk at the Eugene federal court. In his law suit, he said that the list was assembled during night shifts and that several officers contributed. The list was kept on Officer Eric LeRoy’s cell phone and, according to the lawsuit, the list was a constant topic and debated over during work hours.
In his lawsuit, the list, as well as other politically-charged conversations put Cleavenger at odds with other police officers and eventually resulted demotions, he says. The UO is working to have the case dropped but, in the process, confirmed the existence of the list. Though, according to the Register-Guard, it disputes the list was talked about as often as Cleavenger claims.
The university’s public relations website, Around the O, responded to the story Friday afternoon.
“A recent story with information about a legal matter involving a former employee of the University of Oregon Police Department focused primarily on the unproven allegations of the former public safety officer and did not provide the university’s responses to the courts or the newspaper reporter,” said the university.
The statement, written by senior director of communications Julie Brown, also claims Cleavenger misheard some names on the list. “The list included dozens of entries from the inventor of turtlenecks to the state of New Jersey and from Eli Manning to Rush Limbaugh. The list does not include names of the Eugene mayor, a former ASUO student body president or a local lawyer.” Around the O also published the list.
UO Police Chief Carolyn McDermed said that conversations have taken place to bolster appropriate attitude in the workplace and that UOPD strives for professionalism. But she also disagrees with some of the story in today’s Register-Guard. “The list was not meant maliciously, it was not labeled with the vulgarity referred to in the court complaint, and was not a collection of ‘enemies,’” McDermed said in the statement on Around the O.
Cleavenger’s case against the UO has not been dismissed and will be heard in the near future. The Register-Guard reports U.S. Judge David Carter will hear it.