What’s Going on with the Philosophy Department? 

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Questions remain after Professor Ian O’Loughlin’s reassignment

Shortly following a Winter Term class in Greece this January, it was revealed that Dr. Ian O’Loughlin, the trip leader and Chair of Pacific’s Philosophy Department, was having an intimate relationship with one of the students attending the travel program. Pacific responded by re-assigning O’Loughlin away from classroom responsibilities for the current Spring Term—and since then, several questions remain unanswered, including the status of O’Loughlin returning to teaching duties next semester. 

When asked about O’Loughlin’s return to teaching next semester, Dr. Ramona Ilea, who has stepped in to temporarily chair the Philosophy Department, responded: “As of now, I’ve been informed that this is the current plan.” Consequently, students should anticipate seeing O’Loughlin’s name listed for fall semester courses on BoxerOnline, although it remains uncertain whether he will return to classroom teaching duties, pending further investigations.

For the current Spring Term, two former Pacific alumni have filled O’Loughlin’s absence for philosophy courses. Emily Smith is teaching “Language and Logic,” a course required for philosophy majors and that also fulfills Pacific’s math core requirement. Smith graduated several years ago and minored in philosophy at Pacific. She is currently an administrative assistant and manages the Abbott Alumni Center. 

Cassie Finley has filled his other course this semester, “Research and Dissemination,” which serves as an introduction to academia for third-year philosophy students. Finley is a Pacific alumnus, was an adjunct last semester, and is a current philosophy graduate student at the University of Iowa. She specializes in Virtue Theory, which happens to be the topic O’Loughlin planned to introduce students to this semester. However, she does not live in Oregon, and the class has been moved to Zoom for the semester, with mixed results, according to students.

Reportedly, there is also pressure for the school to revise its faculty-student relationship policy. However, more information is not readily available at this time. 

The Office of Student Support encouraged students to remember the following resources:

Confidential Resources:Student Counseling Center: Counseling Appointments | Pacific University
For immediate confidential support – we encourage you to  call the Student Counseling Center’s 24/7 Support and Crisis Line at (503) 352-2999
Confidential Advocacy Network: Advocates connect you with resources about sexual misconduct, explain reporting options and help you process your experience. We will respond to you during the next business day to set up a meeting. Learn more.

Reporting Options:If you have other general concerns and you don’t know where to report, reach out to Interim VP of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Dr. Sarah Phillips at phillips@pacificu.edu, phone: (503) 352-1457, Marsh Hall 114
Title IX: report sexual harassment, relationship violence, or other sexual misconduct, by emailing TitleIX@pacificu.edu or completing this report form.

For assistance navigating these resources or addressing other support needs, students can connect with the Office of Student Support at OSS@contact.pacificu.edu or by submitting a Care Referral .


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