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OU Board of Regents to discuss developing new Title IX regulations, approving university strategic plan in July meeting

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The board of regents pose for a picture after the OU Board of Regents meeting May 9.

The OU Board of Regents will vote to develop revisions for Title IX regulations and approve the university’s strategic plan, among other things, in July 27-28 meetings. 

OU President Joseph Harroz will recommend the board approve OU’s strategic plan. The plan is meant to be a strategy for the future of the university, according to the meeting’s agenda.

“With the fundamental disruption that has occurred and will certainly continue along with the pressures of the current pandemic, it is not feasible to succeed without a plan for the future,” the agenda stated. 

In October 2019, OU administrators sent out a survey to students to determine what things are important to the student body moving forward and to help draft the framework for the university’s strategic plan

“What I would hope for the next increment of time is that we, as a community, came together and laid out a really bold, really honest, really clear path to accomplishing this really sacred mission that matters to the individual and matters to society,” Harroz said in an interview with The Daily.

Harroz will also recommend the board authorize the development of new Title IX regulations, including revisions to OU’s current sexual misconduct definition and policy, and revisions to the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities and faculty/staff handbooks. The regents will also vote to authorize Harroz to make employment decisions about OU personnel based on the U.S. Department of Education’s Final Rule — a new U.S. Department of Education policy, effective August 14, dictating higher education institutions’ response to sexual harassment. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, the Final Rule was created to help schools handle sexual harassment in the academic environment. The rule requires victims to undergo cross-examination in their hearings and defines sexual misconduct as anything severe and pervasive and “objectively offensive.”

“Under the Final Rule, schools know the importance of responding to such incidents appropriately by supporting survivors, as well as by providing a fair, transparent process for investigating and adjudicating sexual harassment matters,” the website stated. 

In addition, the board will vote whether to approve former Senior Vice President and Provost Kyle Harper’s sabbatical leave of absence from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 with full pay. Harper stepped down from the position June 17, and will now serve as a classics and letters professor. His salary will remain at its annualized rate of $329,086 until after his sabbatical, when it will revert to $274,238, according to the agenda. 

Interim Senior Vice President and Provost Jill Irvine’s annualized salary of $232,760 will receive an additional stipend of $57,796, according to the agenda.

In response to the February BERT sit-in, the board will vote to approve the inclusion of a mandatory Diversity, Equity and Inclusion course into OU’s curriculum by fall 2021, according to the agenda. BERT previously called for the course to be required for all students and the resignation of Harper from the senior vice president and provost positions. 

According to the agenda, the board will also review the compensation and contracts of employment of several coaches, including assistant football coaches Shane Beamer and Bill Bedenbaugh. In addition, Sherri Coale, head coach of women’s basketball, and Lindsey Gray-Walton, head coach of women’s volleyball, are under review for possible salary adjustments. 

Other proposed changes according to the agenda include changing the names of several core courses.

According to the agenda, humanities classes will be referred to as “arts and humanities,” and foreign language classes will be referred to as  to “language.” Non-western culture classes will be referred to as “world culture,”  and western civilization and culture classes will be called “western culture.”  

The board will also adjust its own language, refraining from gendered language of its chairs, according to the agenda. The position of “chairman” has been changed to “chair” in the document.

Executive session meetings will take place at 8:30 a.m. July 27 at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in the Midfirst Bank Stadium Club and at 8:30 a.m. July 28 on the sixth floor of Headington Hall. Neither will be open to the press or public. An additional meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. July 28 on the sixth floor of Headington Hall and will be open to the press and public.

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