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Letter to Todd Simmons, Interim Vice President for University Relations and Marketing at OSU

Dear Mr. Simmons,

You are accurately (as video of your statements confirms) quoted in the press today (see quotes below) as having made the following statements at the rally organized by the Republicans of Linn County yesterday on the OSU campus.

You, of course, know that your statements are misleading and false. There is already unequivocal proof of this, and the legal demand that was made last week for all OSU email and other records relevant to this issue will, when OSU complies with this demand, provide a wealth of additional information that proves your statements are false.

You claim:

1. "no effort to remove Dr. Higginbotham"

In fact, Dr. Higginbotham is depleting his personal savings in large payments to lawyers who are defending him from OSU lawyers and administrators. In a bizarre twist, the very OSU lawyers who are orchestrating the attacks against Higginbotham claim that, since he works at OSU, he is also their "client." In this capacity, they are maneuvering to impede his legal defense. OSU is attempting to remove Professor Higginbotham from his professorial position, and he is fighting against this attempt.

2. "neither one of these things of course has come to pass" (dismissal of the students or Professor Higginbotham)

This is a falsehood of omission in that the truth is that public pressure on OSU has prevented or at least postponed these actions, which otherwise would already have been carried out as planned and as demonstrated by OSU recorded actions.

3. “He’s [Robinson's] told us that it’s his intention to make this issue prominent in his campaign,”

I have no idea how this issue will affect our political campaign. I am not raising this issue with voters, but audience members at essentially every speech I have been giving ask about the problems at OSU. I have been answering their questions. Just as you used your opportunity provided by the Republican rally yesterday to make your claims, I will use any forum available to me to protect Professor Higginbotham and my children.

Misuse of public funds, in which you are definitely engaged, is a political issue, but our country is faced with much more onerous examples of this than the small and dirty actions of you and your bosses.

4. "the university is in no way preventing the Robinson students from completing their degrees and there's no effort to remove Dr. Higgenbotham."

There is such a wealth of evidence to the contrary that even your henchmen must be squirming at this statement.

Joshua Robinson is presently cut off from the use of the equipment he built for his graduate work, so he cannot continue his thesis research. His work and equipment is being taken away and given to the husband of Kathryn Higley, an administrator who has taken several actions against Joshua. OSU has also stopped payment to Joshua of research money that he earned under an OSU contract.

Bethany Robinson is working under a threat that is, in my experience, unprecedented in an American university. Bethany has been told that if she does not obey demands that, in effect, will remove her from the university in the near future without a PhD, she will be administratively removed from OSU with no graduate degree whatever to show for her almost five years of excellent work. (This statement is, as you know, entirely true - although there is an attempt by OSU to hide this truth behind duplicitous administrative "process.") Kathryn Higley, chairperson of the department in which Bethany works, is adamant that Bethany leave OSU and has facilitated her efforts to dismiss Bethany with numerous ugly, false, and defamatory statements.

5. " Robinson has had a lot of contact with university officials, who made an effort to resolve the situation."

You know that, in fact, months ago the involved OSU faculty were instructed not to speak with me (most but not all have complied) and that OSU "officials" have completely refused to speak with me - with the single exception of one meeting I was permitted with Dean Adams, who said almost nothing as I tried to discuss this with him.

OSU officials have, so far, even refused to meet with a group of OSU alumni - who are attempting to solve these problems by offering scholarships to the students and funds for legal expenses directed toward resolving the dispute.

The OSU administration is now involved in an unprincipled effort to cover up the outrageous conduct of faculty administrators who are attempting to end the careers of Professor Higginbotham and three students - and to cover up the actions of OSU President Ray and his administrative retainers (including you) who are helping in this effort.

6. In a video of your remarks, you repeatedly claim that I have admitted that there is no proof of the allegations I have made. This statement is entirely false.

You also bragged at the rally yesterday that Professor Higginbotham did not attend - while you know that OSU attacks on Professor Higginbotham have had, as one of their primary objectives, the placing of him in a position where he risks immediate dismissal from OSU if he engages in public statements about these matters.

Art Robinson




"Mr. Robinson began making claims that his adult children that are students here were on the verge of being expelled from the University" and that a professor sympathetic to them was on the verge of being fired, said Todd Simmons, an Oregon State spokesperson. "Here we are almost a month and a half, nearly two months later after the fact and neither one of those things of course has come to pass."


Albany Democrat Herald

Standing several yards away from the rally was Todd Simmons, the interim vice president for university relations and marketing. He serves as the spokesman for the university.

He told the Democrat-Herald that Robinson has had a lot of contact with university officials, who made an effort to resolve the situation. It now has become complicated, he said, because attorneys are involved and because Robinson’s camp is spreading what he called misinformation about what actually is happening concerning his children.

“He’s told us that it’s his intention to make this issue prominent in his campaign,” Simmons said.



OSU officials say the university is in no way preventing the Robinson students from completing their degrees and there's no effort to remove Dr. Higgenbotham.

"As we have said since the beginning of this matter, the allegations that Mr. Robinson continues to circulate are false, they are in many ways outrageous, highly reckless and we wish that he would stop making them," said Todd Simmons, OSU spokesperson.

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