‘He pointed it directly at me’: Jim Eikrem’s alleged use of firearms on campus unnerved staff member

Jim Eikrem addressing an audience before the Spring 2022 production of Number the Stars. Photo by Joseph Lohmolder

As staff and students at Clackamas Community College await a decision to determine if former theater director Jim Eikrem will return to his position at CCC, further concerns have since come out about Eikrem’s use of firearms while he ran the CCC theater department.

Haley Hurita, a department assistant for the theater, described an instance on Feb. 14, 2022 in which Eikrem was test firing a prop gun, loaded with blanks, on stage and in front of an audience of students in a manner that made her uncomfortable. 

“Jim walked center stage, reloaded the gun,” Hurita recalled. “And we’re watching him. And he is pointing the gun he is loading not only just in the direction of students, but directly at me.” 

According to Hurita, Eikrem would go on to fire the gun several times, which was misfiring in several instances. Eikrem then asked Ms. Hurita to fire the gun while he sat in the audience. When she refused, he then asked a student to fire the gun instead. 

Human Resources at CCC was later notified about the incident, and Campus Safety then confiscated all of the theater department’s firearms.

Dennis Marks, the director of campus safety at CCC, wrote in an email that the list of firearms confiscated by the college included: “two starter pistols – by design (barrels blocked and no trajectory options), three firearms missing critical components and completely inoperable, and one revolver that might function – determining that would take a gunsmith or gun expert to confirm.”

CCC policy prohibits firearms, destructive devices and other dangerous weapons on all college premises. The policy includes exemptions for concealed weapons licenses and law enforcement. There is no currently written policy or guidance regarding the use of firearms during a CCC theater performance..

Katelyn Oldham, Eikrem’s legal representation provided through the Oregon Education Association, defended her client, telling The Print, “This was an issue that the college looked into more than a year ago, and nothing resulted from it because it was a big nothing burger.” 

Eikrem himself declined to comment.

An arbitrator is set to make a decision on June 18 if Eikrem’s termination was handled properly by the college. Eikrem’s termination came in the wake of several complaints from staff and students regarding inappropriate conduct, as well as claims of a hostile work environment. A grievance committee put together by the college unanimously determined that Eikrem’s termination was justified. Despite this decision, the faculty senate at CCC decided to send the issue to arbitration. 

The Clackamas Print previously reported complaints against Eikrem including belligerent and demeaning behavior towards staff and students, a habit of entering the women’s dressing room unannounced and directing students in a manner that made them feel uncomfortable.

Eikrem is seeking reinstatement and back pay, as is common for labor disputes.

 

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Joseph Lohmolder

Joseph Lohmolder is the Editor in Chief for the Clackamas Print. He was the previous Managing Editor and News Editor. Joe has been on staff at The Clackamas Print and a member of the Digital Media Communications program since the fall of 2020. In his free time, Joseph enjoys writing and taking photos.

5 Comments

  1. Amy W on June 13, 2023 at 5:38 pm

    I must say, this paper’s continuing treatment of this case has come to look like nothing other than a biased smear-job. This is quite disturbing to me as a member of the community, and, to my mind, it should concern everyone who cares about the truth and due process. The Print is aware that Jim Eikrem is not in a position to comment publicly, due to the fact that his case is currently in arbitration. The decision to continually print ever-wilder allegations against him– now we have him pointing firearms at terrified onlookers, no less– with the full knowledge that he cannot respond to refute, explain, offer context, or otherwise say a word to defend himself, is journalistically unethical at best, and very well may constitute libel. This “firearms” allegation, as his lawyer explains, was looked into and found to be without merit. And yet, The Print makes it the centerpiece of yet another one-sided article about Mr. Eikrem. Why, I wonder, except, again, to further a biased smear-job against a man who is not in a position to defend himself? For shame, Clackamas Print. You can and must do better.



  2. Sue Mach on June 14, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    In May the English Department at CCC invited two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Eli Saslow to speak at our Compose conference. We notified the Print about this event, but you gave us no coverage. Mr. Saslow was willing and eager to meet with young students interested in becoming journalists. We informed the Print of this, but you ghosted us. Mr. Lohnolder certainly could have benefited from Mr. Saslow’s discussion about verifying sources and writing with integrity. The reporting on Jim Eikrem, who is in no position to defend himself because his arbitration is pending, appears sensationalist, unethical, and borders on harassment.



  3. Linda Hayden on June 15, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    I have been a professional actor in Portland for 25 years and have been directed by and acted with Jim Eikreim. He is a consummate professional of the highest order, to such an extent that frankly, I smell a rat. He would never, EVER, harm a student. It’s an embarrassment to this institution to not know who they have in Jim Eikrem.



  4. Ken Colburn on June 16, 2023 at 12:53 am

    This article is so biased it’s ridiculous. It is becoming increasingly obvious to many of us who actually know Jim that this is a smear campaign, and we will be very curious to discover whether you will share our comments with your readers, along with your weakly investigated journalistic manipulations.

    My bias is in Jim’s favor, because I have known him, for about 45 years, as one of the best friends, actors and directors that one could have the good fortune to meet.



  5. Bruce Burkhartsmeier on June 16, 2023 at 11:55 am

    As a member of Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA and a theater professional for nearly forty years, I am aware of and familiar with the accepted safety protocols for the use of firearms in the theater. I am confident that Jim Eikrem, also a theater professional for decades, is aware of these protocols and would not abandon them in any setting, especially that involving students. I would also seriously question Ms. Hurita’s statement that Mr. Eikrem pointed the gun “directly at” her; such an action would violate the most basic tenet of gun safety protocol, something I cannot imagine him doing. I would also reiterate the statement of the director of campus safety at CCC that starter pistols have “no trajectory options” – meaning there is no bullet involved – which should have mitigated at least some of Ms. Hurita’s discomfort. If this truly was a serious incident, as you suggest, why was no action taken by the college when the subject first arose a year ago? This feels like some dubious reporting on the part of your publication.



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