Shannon Muchmore of the TulsaWorld writes about the potential mediation conference set for October 22. According to anonymous sources, Tim and Paulita Brooker, former ORU professors who sued the university more than a year ago, will discuss possible settlement terms at this conference.
I’m not yet sure what to think. Part of me would be glad to see things settle down; but part of me would be rather dissapointed for the truth not to have a chance to see the light and for the drama not to play out in court – probably because I’m a storyteller and I like conflict. Almost like I crave organized anarchy. It’s interesting. Not to mention contradictory. Digressing…
I, like many alumni, feel that Richard Roberts’ simple action of stepping down from leadership of the university and Mart Green’s generous “golden shovel” donation (to dig ORU out of its financial hole) were simply not enough. Much of my generation’s issue with the ORU administration during our terms there was about the complete and total lack of disclosure! It, among other actions (or lack thereof) generated, or contributed to, the culture of fear that we perceived as students. Big things happened… and they weren’t addressed. We were treated like sheep, not clients. We were treated like carbon-copy Christian sausages instead of the thinking, intelligent, ready-to-tackle-the-world, whole men and women they purported to be turning out. Our problem lay in the fact that we were not addressed as coherent adults. On most important matters regarding the administration of the university, we simply were not addressed.
And so it continues. No word has been given from the current administration about the discoveries of the internal audit. Yes, it’s internal; but whether negative or positive, it’s findings are relevant to ORU’s stakeholders.
I believe that hundreds, perhaps even thousands of potential donors wait in the wings, patient that ORU will someday straighten up and fly right and begin to communicate with clarity, maturity and professionalism when matters regarding the leadership or administration require disclosure. When that happens, when ORU’s leadership, past, present or future, can admit fault, can admit failure, can admit the need for help, then I think the giant golden beast can begin to move forward. Maybe even go for a jog down Riverside with this guy.
So if this lawsuit gets settled out of court and the details swept under the Prayer Garden rug, I’ll be more than a little displeased and, quite honestly, ever still reluctant to send my potentially generous donations toward South Tulsa. I still believe in the faculty of ORU; and its potential to churn out great Christian thinkers and artists and businessmen (as well as nurses); but it will take humility and honesty on the part of its leaders to generate hope within me that the modus operandi of the past has changed. Until then, I think I might still be a little skeptical.