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M AY 2 2 , 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M

Presidential rebound

OU regents named an interim president, but community members continue to demand transparency when choosing the next permanent leader. By Miguel Rios

University of Oklahoma Board of Regents named an interim president less than a week after James Gallogly announced his retirement. The decision came around 2 a.m. May 17 after an executive session that lasted nearly six hours. Joseph Harroz Jr., current dean of OU College of Law and director of its law center, will be interim president effective immediately and for at least 15 months — five months longer than Gallogly’s tenure. Harroz will also be eligible for the permanent position. “On behalf of the Board of Regents, I am pleased to announce tonight that OU College of Law dean Joseph Harroz Jr. has been appointed as interim president of the University of Oklahoma,” chairwoman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes said in an statement. “The regents were well aware of Harroz’s capabilities from the thorough vetting done by the presidential search committee last year. It was through that process we were reminded how contagious his passion and enthusiasm are and how seriously he takes accountability and responsibility.” Harroz, an OU graduate, served as legal counsel to former OU president David Boren when he was a senator. At 12 years, he also holds the longest tenure in OU history as the university’s general counsel — all under Boren’s leadership. Some commend the regents’ pick, as Harroz has led the college of law since 2010, but others disagreed with the appointment of Boren’s former legal counsel. Jess Eddy, who accused Boren of sexual misconduct, said he is disappointed in the appointment of Harroz, especially as the Boren investigation OU graduate Jess Eddy said the board of regents should be elected by the campus community rather than appointed by the governor. | Photo Alexa Ace

is still ongoing. “It’s just unbelievable; I’m beyond disbelief. The regents are exposing that they’re compromised by gross conflicts of interest,” he told Oklahoma Gazette. “There’s nobody closer to president Boren than Joe Harroz professionally, personally — Joe was Boren’s protege. Additionally, Joe’s been Boren’s attorney for decades. … Everybody knows Boren’s predatory behavior has been ongoing for decades as well. The idea that you put a guy who can protect himself from telling the truth about David Boren through attorney-client privilege — somebody who knows where the bodies are buried, how to dig them up and move them — in a position over Title IX who can have direct influence in those proceedings, I mean, inappropriate is an understatement. It’s unethical. It’s immoral. … It’s a testament to how powerful the Boren donors are.” Professor Suzette Grillot, former dean of OU College of International Studies, echoed Eddy’s sentiment, telling Gazette the appointment of a “Boren crony” was disgraceful. Both Grillot and Eddy were at the board of regents meeting. Rainbolt-Forbes was asked during the announcement if it was problematic that Harroz would be overseeing Title IX processes, as is the responsibility of the president. She did not say whether or not Harroz would be involved in the Boren investigation. “Rainbolt fumbled around for an answer, looking at the other regents, looking for confirmation of what she should say, and said, ‘Well, the regents will be in charge of the investigation,’” Grillot said. “I can confirm for you that it was an awkward exchange and she was very unsure of her answer. It’s not just a matter of her words; it’s how she

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