The OU Board of Regents met Wednesday to consider administrative hires, an updated firearms policy and policy changes, as well as numerous other agenda items.
The meeting, which began at 9:30 a.m., was held in the National Weather Center on OU’s research campus. Chair Leslie Rainbolt, Regent Eric Stevenson, Regent Natalie Shirley and Regent Phil Albert were at the meeting.
Rainbolt began the meeting by recognizing that Wednesday marks 18 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and thanked the country’s first responders.
In his opening remarks, Interim OU President Joseph Harroz discussed university progress on diversity and inclusion, research, metrics of the incoming class and the amount of money brought in during yesterday’s OU Giving Day, which he said amounted to $749,000.
Harroz said progress includes empowering the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to make the changes that need to be made, as well as setting hard goals and determining how to track progress toward them.— Scott Kirker (@scott_kirker) September 11, 2019
Harroz said there has been a 16% increase in submissions in the area of research, which he said is an important sign of success.— Scott Kirker (@scott_kirker) September 11, 2019
Harroz discussed OU's No. 132 U.S. News & World Report ranking, which was released Monday after the university had been stripped of its ranking previously, noting success for the Price College of Business, which was ranked the No. 50 business school from No. 62 previously.— Scott Kirker (@scott_kirker) September 11, 2019
The regents approved changes to broaden Regents’ faculty awards, changes to the firearm policy, changes to policy for the Office of University Development and to adopt a new policy management policy, among other items.
OU General Counsel Anil Gollahalli said the firearms change does not substantively update the policy but updates language for clarity. The idea to update the policy’s language came after state changes on firearm laws, Gollahalli said in the meeting.
As part of the development change, the office will be renamed to the Office of University Advancement. The office’s policies have not been revised since 2004, according to the agenda, and is being updated to “reflect the current best practices in nonprofit development and reporting.”
The policy update comes after OU was stripped of its U.S. News & World Report ranking for misreporting alumni giving data, and after, the university announced the OU Foundation would enter into a 12-month consulting relationship with the development office.
The meeting then went into executive session. Rainbolt said the regents want to make executive session a regular part of the Regents' meetings.
The meeting has resumed.
— Scott Kirker (@scott_kirker) September 11, 2019
Rainbolt said the regents are "making executive session a regular part of our meetings," and said executive session is an important part of the regents fulfilling their duties.
Items potentially up for consideration during the session included discussion of 11 instances of litigation filed against the university, as well as “pending research or financial investigation(s) and/or claims,” “potential claim(s) involving real estate operations,” “pending personnel claims” and “pending negligence claims.”
The regents also approved an increase of construction cost limit for funding of the OU Armory restoration project by $500,000 to a total of $9,000,000.
The regents also approved a 200-commuter spot expansion to the Sarkeys Energy Center parking lot.
The regents then considered Cameron University and Rogers State University business.
The meeting followed an exchange of letters within the last week between a representative of UMB Bank, the Cross Village bond trustee and a representative of the university in which each accused the other party of making false claims in dealings surrounding the creation of Cross Village and the non-renewal of the parking and commercial leases, respectively.
Supporters of the American Organ Institute, which the university plans to close, attended the meeting.
Nolan Reilly, OU alumnus and director of music at St. Thomas More University Parish, said the AOI supporters will continue to oppose the institute’s closure.
“We were showing up to make our presence known and let the university know that we’re not going away,” Reilly said.
This story was updated at 2:27 p.m. Sept. 11 to indicate that the parking lot expansion is to Sarkeys Energy Center.
Jordan Hayden contributed to this report.