For the University of Oklahoma, consistency is key. No matter if that’s in the form of athletics, academics, or the administration. Oklahoma has traditionally enjoyed that consistency. However, the last year has brought forward many negatives. Today, we’ll look at the current state of tumultuous times within Oklahoma administration.
David Boren Retirement
Let’s start at the beginning. On September 20th, 2017, Boren announced his resignation as president of Oklahoma. His transition called for an end date of June 30th of last year. Boren enjoyed a 24-year career at Oklahoma that began in the winter of 1994. Now, many of his accomplishments and career were noted in this article.
In the first place, comfort is human nature in a career that long. Leaders want to put their stamp on the position. However, the domino effect that was to come after this leadership change was significant. Now, we will get into some of the detail regarding Boren’s replacement.
The Jim Gallogly Era Begins
James Gallogly was named the next Oklahoma president. Gallogly came highly recommended by Boren. Gallogly was introduced on March 26th. However, his hiring did come under fire due to the secrecy.
Gallogly publically spoke about the state of the profit and loss situation at the University. His reign began with words no organization wants to hear. Layoffs. 28 positions were officially eliminated in February of last year. Another 50 came in November as well. Most of the layoffs occurred in the Health Science Center and Landscaping organizations.
The Feud between Boren and Gallogly
Although it may be true that Boren recommending the hiring of Gallogly, the relationship between the two quickly suffered. Case in point, there was a public shaming effort that played out in the media. In June of 2018, Gallogly was critical of the Universities financial status. Whereas, Boren quickly defended his position on the current state.
Much of the debt was related to bonded debt with scheduled payments associated, according to Boren. Shortly following the exchange, a senior leader at the University had a quote. “You tell him that I am the meanest he has ever seen, and if he ever crosses me again, I will destroy him.” The statement was confirmed by multiple sources on a condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from Gallogly. Erin Yarbrough responded to reports of the threat on Gallogly’s behalf in a statement saying, “the situation described and message to President Boren is inaccurate.”
The Calm before the Storm
Additionally, the end of 2018 brought some calm to the situation. However, that was truly the calm before the storm. In February, the University of Oklahoma launched an investigation on Boren. The investigation was amid allegations of sexual misconduct against Boren. Beginning in November, the investigation has concluded.
Now, Boren has decided to resign in an official capacity within the University. The resignation terminated his Presidential transition agreement. With that, it officially relinquishes his affiliation with the University of Oklahoma. In a statement released by Boren, he mentions mixed emotions. “I deeply love the University of Oklahoma. The over 24 years I served at the University were the most rewarding years of my life.” He added, “Last year, I came under a personal attack that was so vicious and relentless that it defied my comprehension.”
Another Change is Coming
On May 12th, Gallogly announced plans to retire as president of the University of Oklahoma. As a matter of fact, the Oklahoma Board of Regents and Gallogly are working towards a smooth transition plan. This comes with a myriad of changes in the last year for Oklahoma. Important to note that the new hire is critical to stabilization to an administration that for the first time in 25 years has uncertainty and is on shaky ground.
The importance of this hire cannot be understated. Having cohesion at the top is critical to a successful organization. An institution is no different. Moreover, Boren set the standard high at both an academic and athletic position. For a school that’s rich in history, Oklahoma needs to be patient and deliver a leader that the entire state can be proud of.