TRU investigation substantiates some complaints of harassment

TRU probe results revealed

UPDATE 1:25 p.m.

A year-long investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of two senior Thompson Rivers University administrators found wrongdoing on the part of one of the men, but the university won’t say who.

TRU brass held a news conference on Tuesday afternoon outlining a heavily redacted version of a report prepared by independent investigators hired by the university to conduct the lengthy probe — an exercise that cost TRU more than $1 million.

Larry Phillips, TRU's former associate vice-president in charge of Human Resources, and Matt Milovick, the university's vice-president of finance and administration, were named in a complaint filed early in 2021.

Phillips and the university parted ways under murky circumstances late in 2021. Milovick still has his job.

On Tuesday, TRU Chancellor Nathan Matthew said 55 allegations were investigated — 33 involving one of the administrators and 22 related to the other.

Ten of those allegations were substantiated, Matthew said — seven involving sexual harassment, one age harassment, one personal harassment and one a derogatory comment toward First Nations people.

All of the substantiated allegations related to one administrator. The other was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I believe these allegations have been thoroughly and properly investigated,” Matthew said.

“The process was trauma-informed. The complainants were given every opportunity to share their concerns."

TRU board of governors Chair Marilyn McLean said the university will not identify which administrator had allegations against him substantiated.

“It’s a workplace investigation and, as such, we are really restricted by B.C.’s freedom of information law,” she said. “So we are unable to put any names out into the media."

TRU President Brett Fairbairn said the ordeal will be a catalyst for change at the university.

“TRU continually evaluates its policies, protocols and internal practices,” he said.

“I want TRU to be a place that is inclusive of everyone. I am firmly committed to working toward a culture that supports individuals across the full spectrum of our workforce."

Fairbairn described the investigation as “a watershed moment” for TRU and said the university community has been going through a difficult time.

“There’s a lot of hurt in TRU’s community right now,” he said.

Matthew said allegations of anti-Indigenous or racist comments at TRU caused hurt in First Nations communities. He noted only one such allegation was substantiated by investigators.

“Eliminating racism is a cornerstone of TRU’s commitment to reconciliation,” he said.

“I know Indigenous people are resilient and will carry on in our social and cultural development using education as a catalyst for positive change."


Thompson Rivers University is slated to unveil information Tuesday uncovered during an investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of two senior administrators.

Matt Milovick, TRU’s vice-president of finance and administration, and Larry Phillips, the university’s former associate vice-president in charge of human resources, were named in a complaint filed with the university early in 2021.

The complaint alleged discriminatory conduct, harassment and misogyny, as well as disparagement of First Nations people.

University officials — including President Brett Fairbairn, board chair Marilyn McLean and Chancellor Nathan Matthew — will be on hand for a 1 p.m. news conference at which information gathered during the independent investigation will be made public.

The probe wrapped up last month. TRU was provided with a report on Dec. 21.

The investigation into Milovick and Phillips became public knowledge in November of 2021. Phillips and TRU parted ways a short time later.

The probe was initially expected to be complete in March, but delays pushed the report back to November and then December.

This story will be updated when new information becomes available.

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