In November of last year, CIA recruiters made a visit to the University of Oregon campus. In our December issue we wrote about their visit and the counterprotest that was organized against it. We had one lingering question: “who arranged for the CIA to recruit on campus, and why?”
Since then, we have obtained public records that shine light on how the visit was arranged and the response that the University of Oregon had to protestors. It paints a picture of a close relationship between the University
Career Center and the CIA over conversations that spanned many months.
Steve K., West Coast regional coordinator for the CIA, reached out to Tina Haynes, Employer Engagement Coordinator at the Career Center back on July 8, 2021. Haynes says she would have reached out to Steve if she had not heard from him. She has been organizing campus visits from at least 2017, the UO events calendar shows.
Once his visit had been scheduled, Haynes shared the details with who she thought was relevant faculty and staff on November 1, eight days before his visit. This sparked the interest of Professor Leslie McLees, a Senior Instructor, Undergraduate Coordinator, and advisor for the Geography Department.
McLees says she helped organize a recruitment session while Steve was on campus last fall. Some attendees of the counterprotest—which was not tied to any public group— were wary that some of the passerby appeared to be UO employees who were spying on them, a valid concern given the strength of the surveillance on campus and society at large.
The emails show that the university was alerted to the protest and had been tracking it beforehand. Kevin Marbury, VP of Student Life, says he had been made aware of the event, and shared a screenshot of Cops Off Campus UO boosting the flyer for the event on their Instagram story to Career Center Director Paul Timmins.
That message made its way to Haynes and she forwarded it to Steve, “Hi Steve—I know you’re due to arrive soon but wanted to give you a heads about [sic] a potential ‘Teach In’ being organized around the agency visit. We’re making folks aware of it and will be keeping an eye on things if they progress.”
The Career Center says that the CIA has shown interest in making another visit to campus in the spring. Any details of an on-campus visit will be posted on Handshake.