I don’t have time to find a ton of links. So here’s Phil Cooke’s post about it.
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.
Christianity Today posted an interesting summary about the past year at ORU. I recommend.
I think it’s exciting that the new Chair of the Board of Trustees is involved in creating cultural offerings like this one!
Wikipedia has an article on this Republican Senator from Oklahoma.
He was the mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma for a few years in the late 70s and early 80s.
This is juicy.
TRENT HUDDLESTON’S LAWSUIT
…he was ordered to falsely report thousands of dollars of assets as expenses, which allowed the Robertses (sic) to spend university money on their extravagant lifestyle without agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service realizing how the money was being spent. … [and that] he was forced out of his position because he refused to remain silent about “the fact the defendants were committing illegal acts.”
Key quote from the article:
On the day Huddleston was forced out, an audit initiated by ORU’s regents was set to begin.
So about that audit… Read the rest of this entry »
ORU has received at least fifty nominations or letters of interest for the position of president, according to this TulsaWorld article. Bruce Dingman of The Dingman Company is conducting the search. They have a list of qualifications posted here.
Key quote from the Dingman listing:
The opportunity is one where a style of servant leadership (humility, authenticity, and accountability), shared governance (a participative, inclusive management style) and a new board, will build a spirit of trust, mutual respect and community among the board, administration, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and supporters. This is a time for healing, rebuilding, re-energizing, and recasting of the vision with all the constituencies.
The president should be a person who will foster an environment of open communication and academic freedom, and dispel the climate of fear that has developed among the faculty and staff.
Key quote from the TulsaWorld article:
Roberts was accused last fall of creating a “culture of fear” on campus; he said he did not intend to create such a culture, if such a culture existed.
If everything goes as planned the new President will likely assume the position around July 1st, 2009 and the official inauguration will occur in the fall of 2009.
According to this Tulsa World page of briefs, the lawsuit from student Cornell Cross, that he filed in November, has been dismissed by a Tulsa county judge today. Here’s some quotes:
ORU and other defendants argued that Cross essentially was alleging educational malpractice, which cannot be the basis for a lawsuit under Oklahoma law, defense attorney John Tucker said.
…one of Cross’ attorneys said he plans to file a new version of the lawsuit with more details about the allegations. Cross has until early July to amend his lawsuit.
Cornell graduated from ORU last month with a bachelor’s degree. Among other things, Cornell was arguing that his degree has been devalued by the events at ORU last fall.
What do readers of this blog think?
Does a student’s degree become devalued by events such as these? Take the events at Texas Southern University. Priscilla Slade, the ex-president, and three aids, were charged with misusing university funds. Slade was accused of spending more than $500,000 of the financially strapped school’s money on personal expenses, such as furnishing and landscaping her home. Does that mean that the education acquired by students from Texas Southern University during her tenure is less valuable because she misused their money?
Here’s an update on Slade from this Houston Chronicle story:
Slade, after her first trial ended with a hung jury, pleaded no contest to the charges and promised to repay $130,000 to avoid jail time. Prosecutors also required her to read a letter of apology in court.