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U. of Oregon Therapist Who Protested Handling of Rape Victim’s Records Resigns

[Updated (11/2/2015, 4:25 p.m.) with a statement from the university.]

One of the University of Oregon employees who blew the whistle this year on the university’s handling of an alleged sexual-assault victim’s medical records has resigned. In a letter to the university’s president, Michael H. Schill, and other colleagues, Jennifer Morlok, a senior staff therapist, said she was resigning from the university’s counseling center because she could “no longer manage the emotional strain and professional toll I have paid for speaking the truth.”

Ms. Morlok was one of two employees in the counseling center who in February publicly protested the university’s demand that the center turn over the confidential records of a female student who was planning to sue the university. That revelation ignited fierce controversy nationwide, which escalated when Karen Stokes, the other employee, said in March that she’d been fired. (The university disputed that claim and said on Monday that Ms. Stokes was employed as a special-projects coordinator.)

In August the university agreed to pay the female student, who said she had been raped by three basketball players, an $800,000 settlement.

In her letter, dated Sunday, Ms. Morlok said the university had “taken no supportive actions to make sure I am safe and treated with the full professional support I need in order to do my job.” She added that she was “encouraged” that policies aimed at protecting confidential records were being enacted on the campus.

In a written statement to The Chronicle, Oregon’s vice president for student life, Robin Holmes, said that the university “was committed to providing Ms. Morlok with a supportive work environment,” but that she had chosen not to accept offers of “alternative workplace scenarios.” Ms. Holmes went on to write that the university was “fundamentally opposed to anything that can be construed as workplace retaliation against those who air critical views or opinions.”

Correction (11/2/2015, 4:19 p.m.): A previous version of this post stated that Karen Stokes was no longer employed at the university. She is a special-projects coordinator in its College of Arts and Sciences, according to the university.

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