ALL LEWIS & CLARK alumni are invited to use the lush college campus after they graduate—except, it seems, if they're homeless.
Portlander Barry Joe Stull was a recognizable figure on campus back in the 1990s, both for his age (he was 41 when he graduated as a music major in 1999) and his famous all-hemp suit. However, he is no longer welcome at the college. Security guards roughed him up and kicked him off school grounds last August—and then pressed criminal trespassing charges. Stull, homeless but carrying his alumni ID card, had tried to use the student center during a dance.
The case wound up in court, and Multnomah County Judge Michael Marcus declared a mistrial on the trespassing charges on March 2. In his ruling, Marcus provides a troubling account of the mistreatment of an outspoken alum—solely because of his "appearance as a homeless person"—at a school known for its progressive outlook.
Stull is no stranger to trouble—nor has he been a stranger, since graduating, to Lewis & Clark administrators. His court record stretches over 54 cases, many of them restraining orders, lawsuits, and complaints he has filed against various Portlanders and Portland institutions, including Lewis & Clark. In 2007, he repeatedly criticized the school at public meetings over a proposed development.
At the same time, Stull relied on the campus. His ID granted him regular use of the college's gym, showers, and phones. Lewis & Clark, as Marcus noted, has no policy for revoking an alumnus' campus rights.
About 10 pm on August 28, Stull had biked to campus and started to head inside Templeton Student Center for some water. A freshman dance was in full swing, and four guards stopped him outside. The guards' testimony conflicts about whether Stull indeed showed them the ID he had in his wallet before he pushed through to get to the drinking fountain.
When Stull finished his drink, he turned around. One of the guards, Nick Mobley, asked him to step outside, to which the longtime gadfly replied, "I'm not answering any of your stupid fucking questions, and when did they hire such fucking assholes for campus security?"
According to Marcus, campus security then used "undue force" as they carried Stull out, ground his face into the pavement, and then cuffed him.
Marcus found there was no "persuasive testimony" that Stull was asked to leave for any other reason than his "appearance as a homeless person and mere assumptions that people who look homeless are going to disrupt the youthful dance" on campus.
During the trial, Campus Security Supervisor Tim O'Dwyer argued the guards were right to exclude Stull because of the behavior of a different "homeless-looking" person on campus a few days before... though O'Dwyer made it clear he didn't think the guards mistook Stull for the other person.
The jury in Stull's trial found him guilty of criminal trespass, or "remaining unlawfully" in a place he had no right to be. But in an extraordinary move, Marcus declared a mistrial, stating that he, too, had been confused about whether Stull's rights as an alum trumped the security officers' order to leave. A new trial is set for April.
The college declined to comment.