Despite public perception that former OU President David Boren and current OU President James Gallogly are feuding, both men say the interests of the university should come before personal relationships.
Multiple media reports suggest divisions between the two, but Gallogly denies that he feels any ill will towards Boren, with whom Gallogly said he’s had a close relationship for years. Boren, speaking through spokesperson and lawyer Bob Burke, said some of the reports were accurate and the rift is “detrimental to the university.”
Gallogly criticized the financial state of the university at the June Board of Regents meeting, weeks before he took over the presidency. Boren responded by releasing an op-ed saying the financials weren’t as dire as Gallogly made them seem.
According to a recent Norman Transcript report, Gallogly indirectly threatened Boren in the days after the op-ed was released. While The Daily has been unable to confirm with witnesses whether or not the incident happened, Gallogly denies that this happened, but Boren has said through Burke that it did occur.
“It just isn’t accurate,” Gallogly said. “David and I have been working together and collaborating for 25 years … I’ve had a very close relationship with David. The thought of me threatening him? It’s just absurd on its face.”
Burke, speaking for Boren, said that Boren was told by an OU vice president that Gallogly said, “Tell (Boren) I’m the meanest son a bitch he’s ever met, and if he crosses me again, I’ll destroy him.” Burke said that he does not know if anyone else witnessed Gallogly saying that and did not give the identity of the vice president.
“(Boren) recognizes that people say things that sometimes they wish they hadn’t,” Burke said. “David didn’t do anything about that, he just went on about his business teaching his class.”
This was because Boren wishes to make the presidential transition seamless and without negative attention, Burke said.
Gallogly denies any rift between Boren and himself, though he recognizes that, due to media reports, the public may believe there is one.
“The rift — it doesn’t exist on my part,” Gallogly said. “I’m always about the university and not about the personalities.”
Gallogly said the university hired an outside law firm to avoid bias when his administration discovered misreporting of numbers from the department of development to the U.S. News & World Report during Boren’s administration.
Tripp Hall, former vice president for university development, and J.P. Audas, former director of the OU Alumni Association, were both removed from the university on Nov. 1, just after the Jones Day investigation was finished, Gallogly said. Hall and Audas were close with Boren after working with him for more than 20 years, but Gallogly said that was not a factor in their removal.
“This matter has been very, very difficult, as you can imagine,” Gallogly said. “When people were saying … that this is part of a scheme to get rid of those people because I was being bitter? I think you know better today.”
The Transcript also reported that Gallogly ordered the Stephenson Cancer Center not to install a plaque that was to be placed in honor of Boren’s brother-in-law.
Gallogly told The Daily he did not order it not to be placed to spite Boren. He said he was simply following the rules in a time where gifts to the university are such an issue and that he sent the matter to the Board of Regents.
Gallogly said he doesn’t believe the current circumstances between himself and Boren will affect donations to the university.
“People shouldn’t be thinking they’re giving money to a president, they should be thinking about giving money as an investment to the university,” Gallogly said. “The university isn’t about David Boren, it’s not about Jim Gallogly ... it’s about the University of Oklahoma, the institution, the students, the faculty, the staff — that’s what they need to think about.”