Oregon Bach Festival Exec At Center Of Controversy Is Removed From Position

The Oregon Bach Festival’s (OBF) troubles started in 2017 and never really went away. Long story short, OBF Executive Director, Janelle McCoy, spearheaded a process that ultimately removed then artistic director Matthew Halls from his position in the wake of allegations of discrimination against women and a minority.

Adaptistration People 013OBF ultimately dismissed Halls but it didn’t take long for numerous reports of erroneous charges to emerge, such as the complaint of discrimination against a minority (the individual in question came forward to say the charges against Halls were entirely untrue).

The PR situation went from bad to worse after news came to light that the OBF investigation into the complaints against Halls were reviewed by an independent Title IX compliance consultant and the recommendations from that professional clearly indicated nothing in the complaint rose to the level of termination. Moreover, the OBF did not adopt or apply any of the consultant’s recommendations.

Fast forward to last week and the University of Oregon (UO), OBF operates as part of the university, announced that McCoy was being laid off from her position and the university has plans to restructure the administrative model once McCoy departs at the end of this summer’s festival.

According to a post from 6/23/2019 by Norman Lebrecht at Slippedisc.com, UO also removed two other key administrators connected with Halls’ dismissal; Provost Jayanth Banavar, who played a role in the investigation and decision on how to process the Title IX consultant recommendations, and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Douglas Blandy, who authored Hall’s termination letter.

As of now, there is no word from UO on how they plan to restructure OBF’s administration once McCoy departs.

While the university asserts McCoy’s removal is strictly a budgetary driven decision, it’s difficult to notice that two of the other key UO administrators have also been removed during the same restructuring process.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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