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OUDAILY SUMMER 2019
Editor-in-Chief MEGAN ROSS
Managing Editor KAYLA BRANCH
Design Editor MADDY PAYNE
Money vs. Mission ARTS
Drive-in Theaters Norman Shelter Helps Homeless
Coaching Menâ€™s Gymnastics
Jackie Wolf Odds & Ends Crimson Quarterly is a publication of University of Oklahoma Student Media. Nick Jungman, director of student media, authorized printing of 10,000 copies by University Printing Services at no cost to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma.
YOU R VO I C E
A PLACE FOR COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES
ARTIST: ADAM RODRIGUEZ PATTERSON TITLE: TRUE WARRIOR 9” X 12” PENCIL 2005
ABOUT THE ARTIST — Adam Rodriguez Patterson is a published Native American artist who works primarily with pencils to create realistic depictions of people, landscapes and animals. For years, Patterson was drawing striking portraits of Native American tribesmen, outdoor scenes and animals, but it wasn’t until recently that he understood the connection between his admiration for the simplicity and power of these scenes and himself. Patterson was in the foster care system from a young age, and always loved to draw. A few years ago, a DNA test confirmed his high percentage of Native American heritage, allowing him to fully embrace a pride he had always felt. “When I drew these drawing years ago, it was just some passion inside me that I just found so fascinating,” Patterson said. “So when I found out, I thought, ‘No wonder.’ It made sense.” Through the years, Patterson has found success having his art published in catalogs at Texas Lutheran University and on certificates used at Longfellow Middle School in Norman. He has won multiple awards, including a 2010 Norman Chamber of Commerce competition. Patterson previously taught pencil drawing classes at the Moore Norman Technology Center. The pride of completing a piece, learning new techniques and capturing the realism of the world around him has fueled Patterson to continue his artwork through his life. “I love drawing, I love that God gave me that talent, and it’s something I have no second thoughts about,” Patterson said.
W E W A N T T O S H O W C A S E Y O U R W O R K — T O S U B M I T Y O U R A R T, P H O T O G R A P H Y O R W R I T I N G T O Y O U R V O I C E , S E N D I T T O D A I LY F E AT U R E S @ O U . E D U .
Money vs. Mission THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA LOOKS TO PULL AWAY FROM NATIONAL TRENDS IN HIGHER EDUCATION ECONOMICS STORY BY KAYLA BRANCH PHOTOS BY JORDAN MILLER
n the past year, it became widely known that OU was close to $1 billion in debt. During the past six years, four new residence halls, some accompanied by restaurants and shops, opened on OU’s campus, and the Gaylord FamilyOklahoma Memorial Stadium was renovated. Since the 2006-07 school year, tuition increased by nearly 69 percent at OU. And from the fall of 2005 on, OU’s out-of-state student population has increased by roughly 8 percent, to around 39 percent of all undergraduate students on the Norman campus in fall 2018. These actions place OU, along with hundreds of other public universities all over the country, in the midst of a broader economic trend in higher education: learning how to finance operations as state funding declines. Former OU President David Boren dealt with declining funds by a process experts are calling “financialization,” or turning to a blend of private donations, bonds, investment returns, tuition raises and out-of-state students to pay for basic functions while also trying to strengthen the university’s prestige. But after Boren’s retirement last June, current President James Gallogly is pulling OU away from this trend. Gallogly has publicly decried the debt, criticized the building of new residence halls, held tuition flat for the first time in years and announced plans to give more scholarships to in-state students. It’s left OU in a state of monetary limbo as it transitions its financial philosophy. As a public institution designed to serve state tax payers, OU must now answer two questions: How this university and others in the state will find sustainable solutions to declining state support, and who state universities are meant to serve overall.
IN THE PAST SIX YEARS
4 NEW RESIDENCE HALLS SINCE THE 2006-2007 SCHOOL YEAR, TUITION HAS
INCREASED BY 69% AT OU SINCE 2005, OUT-OF-STATE STUDENT POPULATION
IN-STATE VS. OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS INFORMATION FROM OU
EMERGING NATIONAL TREND Financialization is like a large money game, one that is constantly fluctuating as universities across America try to build revenue streams beyond public funding. From general debt to recruitment of more out-of-state students to costly amenities, universities have tried to become the biggest and the best, despite the financial realities many of them live. Public colleges and universities rely on complex and multi-layered sources for funding, which include state tax dollars, donations, tuition, commercial revenues and more, according to the study “The Financialization of U.S. Higher Education,” by Charles Eaton, a sociology professor at UC Berkeley. During times of economic downturns in states, higher education institutions are generally viewed as state budget items that can handle a cut in appropriations because they can raise tuition to make up for lost funds. But as costs have continued to rise for static budget items due to inflation and state dollars have continued to decrease, universities are getting creative to try to maintain their operations outside of tuition increases alone. “Public and private schools both are competing with each other for student dollars, increasingly courting wealthier students with fancy amenities built with borrowed money,” according to a 2016 study by the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank. Historically, this creativity has been easier for private universities to accomplish. With their large endowments, huge networks of wealthy alumni and elite reputations, institutions like Yale and Harvard have been able to successfully borrow money to strengthen research and faculty pay, as well as continue growing their endowments overall. Many public colleges have tried to emulate this strategy for success within their own financial constraints. One limitation is how money in endowments is often restricted at public universities, said Guy Patton, director of the OU Foundation, which oversees OU’s endowment. Patton said private institutions are able to leverage their endowments as part of more general cash flows. But at public institutions, which recently started growing endowments due to declining state funds, funds are often donor restricted, so they can only be used for a specific, donor-intended purpose. These smaller, more tightly restricted endowments mean that public universities usually rely on the commercial revenue expected to be generated from
capital projects they borrowed for in the first place — new dorms, restaurants, parking lots, athletic centers, cafeterias — to pay off their bond debt. Universities like OU assumed that room and board, parking passes and luxury ticket sales, among other things, would cover the construction debt, and the new amenities would help attract more wealthy, out-of-state students to pay full prices, eventually bolstering general financial operations in the long run. But for many public institutions, including OU, this is not what always happened. “Part of what universities are doing is that they are copying the next university up on the totem pole,” Eaton said in a phone interview with CQ. “You look at an institution near you that you think of as a competitor, you see what they’re doing and you copy it. But you don’t necessarily think through if copying them makes sense for your particular university.” Many schools overestimated what their public school constituents could afford. And when dorms go unfilled and luxury tickets don’t sell, public universities are left to pay off their debt through a continued cycle of increased tuition, state funding pulled from other areas, high recruitment of out-of-state students and more. Nationally, the debt for public and community colleges has doubled in the past decade, reaching $151 billion, Eaton’s study says. In most cases, the growth of debt has outpaced enrollment growth, and nearly half of borrowed money has gone toward amenities that have not met their financial projections. For example, in the mid 2000s, UC Berkeley, one of the largest public universities in the country, borrowed nearly $500 million to build a sports stadium. The university hoped to sell thousands of longterm season tickets and make millions, but the buyers didn’t surface. Now, Eaton said, the university is dealing with the consequences of debt repayment plans that will span decades with no substantial funding source.
FOR PUBLIC & COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAS DOUBLED,
REACHING $151 BILLION
THE DUNHAM RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE
IS ONE OF FOUR NEW RESIDENTIAL HALLS ON OUâ€™S CAMPUS BUILT IN THE PAST SIX YEARS. THE OU COMMUNITY EXPRESSED CRITICISM OF THE DORMS, ESPECIALLY AFTER LEARNING OF LOW OCCUPANCY, HIGH COST AND POOR MANAGEMENT.
Public universities are trying to survive declining budgets while also continuing to elevate the value of their degrees, but this has left economically disadvantaged students behind in the middle of an “amenities arms race,” according to the Roosevelt Institute. Amid it all, experts point to the mission of public institutions: To educate workforces, build regional economies and foster class mobility. And by studying the financialization of higher education, they hope to warn how current financial strategies to combat declining state funding might push that core mission out of sight. “Public research universities are dedicated to the public: That is their mission; it is the value that animates all of their activities,” a 2016 study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences said. “But it is the public character of these institutions that the current financial model has put at the greatest risk … Without careful and sustained attention, we not only risk blurring the line between public and private research universities, we also risk magnifying other social divides.” On some level, financialization turns students into dollar signs, and “is not a sustainable model for public institutions dedicated to serving their states, regions and nation,” the study confirmed. “I think when you cut funding for public universities and those universities turn to financial markets to pursue profit-making business strategies,” Eaton said, “you undermine the public purpose of the universities overall.”
LOOKING AT OKLAHOMA The University of Oklahoma follows many of the rules of this financial game, Eaton said. The nearly $1 billion in debt to pay off bonds, the new campus dorms and restaurants, the rising out-of-state student population — it’s a classic example of a university attempting to navigate public funding losses through financial markets. OU has also increased multiple other revenue areas since Fiscal Year 2015, such as private foundations (418.7 percent), real estate operations (45.8 percent) and athletics and the Lloyd Noble Center (25.5 percent), among others, according to OU’s budget and financial planning office. Additionally, studies point to universities seeking savings by outsourcing operations, including management of parking lots, residence halls and other facilities. Universities will also streamline course offerings, defer maintenance, minimize administration costs, shutter
computer labs, cut positions and even close campuses. Mary Boren, state senator for District 16, which encompasses Norman, worked for the State Regents for Higher Education in the 1990s, and said she is unsure of the role the state will play in making sure the worst of these don’t happen at OU. “Oklahoma has typically funded “ I THINK WHEN YOU CUT FUNDING things out of crisis and very FOR PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES AND rarely proactively. THOSE UNIVERSITIES TURN TO So we usually FINANCIAL MARKETS TO PURSUE only deal with the PROFIT-MAKING BUSINESS most immediate financial need,” STRATEGIES, YOU UNDERMINE Boren said. THE PUBLIC PURPOSE OF THE “There are some UNIVERSITIES OVERALL. ” exceptions, but when it comes to the public good in Oklahoma, we fund the most critical, crisis-oriented things.” Since Gallogly took office July 1, 2018, there have been two rounds of layoffs, employees believe certain departments are on the verge of privatization, administrative positions have been streamlined, contracts have been scrutinized and inefficient research offices have been closed, among many other things. “I didn’t know I’d be doing that when I got here,” Gallogly told CQ. “I didn’t know these financial issues existed, but they do.” More blows to financial projections and assumptions happened when the new upperclassmen dorms on campus, Cross Village and the residential colleges, dealt with low occupancy and general resident dissatisfaction instead of generating healthy revenue. And in Oklahoma on the whole, residents are frustrated with the lack of state funding for education, which culminated into the historic April 2018 teacher strike. When asked about OU’s financial history and the thoughts behind those decisions, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ken Rowe said he was not able to answer many questions because he was not on campus at the time. The two administrators in charge of OU’s finances when many of those decisions were being made were terminated by Gallogly on his first day in office. In recent years, the most direct and drastic impact for students, though, has been the increase in tuition.
Oklahoma has decreased its state support by 20 percent since Fiscal Year 2008, and OU has increased its tuition by more than 60 percent in the same timeframe in response. Boren said that while the responsibility for funding cuts falls on the Oklahoma Legislature, so too does some of the blame for how universities were allowed to respond. When colleges were raising tuition year after year in the early 2000s, the state changed the laws to allow institutions to raise tuition on their own without direct government oversight. In some states, there is speculation that lawmakers felt they needed to shift the focus away from themselves so they would not face political backlash for the state of higher education, Eaton theorized. “It’s harder to hold lawmakers accountable and hold them directly responsible because they’ve passed the buck to the university itself as a separate entity from the state government,” Eaton said. “So I would say that in many ways, the lawmakers have let the people down by pushing universities in this direction and giving them the autonomy to do this.” The high costs of attending college and the large number of out-of-state students who generally move away after graduating have also played a role in slow economic development planning, Boren said. A state with a low number of college graduates as permanent
EDUCATION IN OKLAHOMA
INFORMATION FROM U.S. CENSUS
residents has difficulty attracting quality outside businesses or providing growth and class-mobility opportunities for low-income residents. “In Oklahoma, we have a disconnect between what we’re bothered by and what the political consequences are for that. We’re wanting to invest more dollars into common good, we just don’t have that culture here that sees investment in each other as investment in the common good,” Boren said. “We see it more as a negative thing. It makes it harder for low-income students, minority communities and first-generation students.” There are spots of hope, though. Other universities have found success with private-public partnerships, such as North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, a research hub that creates direct partnerships between researchers, students and businesses in various communities. And in other states, legislatures have begun to limit universities’ abilities to participate in certain aspects of financialization by freezing tuition or mandating that the number of out-of-state students stays below a certain percentage, Eaton said. Oklahoma currently does neither of these, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t change. “The good news is that the University of Oklahoma is still very much a public institution whose governing body is appointed by elected officials, and so the people of Oklahoma have democratic promises and tools by which to redirect the university to its original public purpose,” Eaton said. Boren said she has been pleased with some of the actions taken by Gallogly, like holding tuition flat and boosting the Oklahoma Promise program at OU for instate students. Gallogly also has said he plans to increase research on all of OU’s campuses and explore how to make OU a primary medical provider in the state. Gallogly said the financialization trend and its impacts have been clear to him, and his mission is simple: Keep college as affordable as possible, especially for lowincome students. “If we keep adding to your tuition semester after semester after semester, pretty soon you just can’t afford to go … My goal is to make it as cheap as possible for you to get that high quality education,” Gallogly said. “Getting in the door if you’re poor is also really valuable ... I was a poor student too — I worked full time, but if somebody didn’t get me started, it was never going to happen for me. So I believe in getting people started.”
OU PRESIDENT JAMES GALLOGLY GALLOGLY SAID HE PLANS TO CONTINUE EFFORTS TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE, PARTICULARLY FOR IN-STATE STUDENTS. THOUGH GALLOGLYâ€™S COST-CUTTING MEASURES HAVE BEEN CRITICIZED, HE IS CONFIDENT IN HIS STRATEGY.
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FRESH FLICKS VINTAG VENUE IN A
DRIVE-IN MOVI THEATERS WITHST THE TEST OF TIME SPITE OF DIFFICUL STORY BY ABIGAIL HALL PHOTOS BY PAXSON HAWS
H S GE E
E AND IN TIES
tune IN: in: 94.5 FM fm TUNE CHIEF DRIVE-IN: OPEN WEEKENDS YEAR ROUND ADMIRAL TWIN DRIVE-IN: OPEN SUMMER WEEKENDS
n a gravel road south of the small Oklahoma town of Chickasha sits the state’s oldest drive-in theater — the Chief Drive-In.
The Chief is reminiscent of the classic 1950s drive-in experience. Cars have tuned into a radio station for audio, parked in front of the large screen and watched double features on the weekends since 1949. But it is also a nostalgic reminder of owner Barbara Egbert’s teenage years. Egbert worked at The Chief as a 16-year-old in 1979 and fell in love with the drive-in environment. “It was fun. It still is fun to me,” Egbert said. “I do about the same thing I did back then.” Although Egbert went to work as a newspaper carrier at the town’s local newspaper, when The Chief was put up for sale in 2004, she jumped at the chance to run it herself. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to own that?’” Egbert said. “I told my husband, ‘I want to do that.’ And he said, ‘OK.’” The property was sold to Steve LaForge, a Chickasha businessman, in 2004, who leased the property to the Egberts until 2009, when they officially purchased it. Since 2004, the family has made the theater a family-friendly outdoor experience for the surrounding community year-round Friday through Sunday. “I wanted it to be a place where families could come, bring their kids, let
them grow up,” Egbert said. “You could be sittin’ in your lawn chairs and lay up blankets and have family time together … You can go and enjoy yourself and have entertainment.” On a typical weekend, The Chief will have 100 to 300 cars, but in the summer it can sell out, once with as many as 1,200 cars, she said. Egbert and her husband, Greg, keep The Chief running with the help of their children Brandon Egbert and Chrystal Martin. Greg works the boxoffice, Brandon works projection and Chrystal covers social media and online maintenance. As for Barbara — she does everything else. She runs the concession stand, orders supplies and films, keeps up with the books and more. Egbert said she hopes to keep the business in her family for years to come. “(We’re) not goin’ anywhere … but drive-ins have it hard,” Egbert said. “(It’s hard) to stay open — that’s why so many of ‘em are closing.” The Chief is one of the few drive-ins open year-round, since many are open seasonally due to a decline in customers during the cold months of the year, according to drive-in website database driveinmovie.com. Egbert said the majority of their revenue comes from concessions, which is the reason for common drive-in rules like no outside food or drinks. Buying new and popular movies — The Chief showed “Dumbo” during its opening week and “Captain Marvel” a few weeks after its
release — is expensive, Egbert said. “The films cost the majority of our money that comes in from the box office — we don’t make hardly anything,” Egbert said. “If we make 10 percent, we’re lucky, and sometimes we don’t even make that.” The drive-in also recently experienced storm damage, forcing it to replace the front sign, and there is now additional wind damage on the back side of the film screen, Egbert said. The Chief is one of seven currently operating drive-ins in Oklahoma, and 325 operational drive-ins nationally. Other operational Oklahoma driveins include the Winchester Drive-In in Oklahoma City, the Admiral Twin DriveIn, located in Tulsa and Oklahoma’s largest drive-in, and the Cool Breeze RV Cinema and Resort, the state’s newest drive-in, which opened in 2018. Noah Simpson, Admiral Twin projectionist and social media manager, said the Admiral Twin is a Tulsa landmark. The theater has more than 12,000 parking spots, with additional unofficial spots off to the side, and it often sells out during the summer, Simpson said. He added that the Admiral Twin is a Route 66 icon, so it often gets out-of-state visitors as well as Tulsa locals. Despite the Admiral Twin’s success, Simpson said they, too, “survive on concession sales.” The Tulsa drive-in is only open seasonally, closing in October when sales
rain or shine
decrease due to the colder weather, and digital, creating the “go digital or go losing more drive-ins,” Hensgen said. opening again in March for spring, he dark” phenomenon, Hensgen writes. The “I certainly wouldn’t say we’ve had a switch to digital in the industry forced comeback, even though we have some said. In 2010, the Admiral Twin was drive-ins to convert to expensive digital new ones opening. There’s still more temporarily closed due to a fire, and projectors, costing upwards of $60,000. closing than opening.” only raised the funds to re-open in Drive-ins were forced to adapt to the The drive-ins that have remained open 2012 because of the devoted drive-in changes or close altogether. have maintained digital projection and Then, the 2010s digital age of sound, Hensgen said, allowing them community, Simpson said. “The movement to actually rebuild streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to stay in business while the drive-ins was started by (the community), not by added further difficulties for drive-in that are steadily closing typically never us,” Simpson said. “Once we saw the proprietors, Hensgen said. converted their systems due to the cost. While the nostalgia around the support that we were receiving from our Hensgen said he thinks the familycommunity we kind of sparked friendly drive-in experience the initiative to rebuild — and we is what keeps drive-ins rooted did.” in local communities, and that “I WANTED IT TO BE A PLACE Drive-ins like The Chief and despite the steady closures, the Admiral Twin have remained open, WHERE FAMILIES COULD COME, drive-ins are here to stay. yet drive-ins across the nation “What keeps people going to BRING THEIR KIDS, LET THEM continue to close annually due to the drive-in, No. 1, I think, is a GROW UP. YOU COULD BE SITTIN’ the difficulties of maintaining the sense of nostalgia for older folks, IN YOUR LAWN CHAIRS AND LAY UP businesses, said Nick Hensgen, but also it’s just a great family BLANKETS AND HAVE FAMILY TIME owner of the website driveinmovie. entertainment option that you TOGETHER.” com. can’t get many other places,” Hensgen and his son track Hensgen said. “Something else every operational drive-in across may come along, but I think the nation, in Canada and in people still enjoy that social Australia, watching for closures factor of getting out of their experience of attending a drive-in has house and enjoying a night out, be it at and openings, he said. On his website, Hensgen detailed the kept some drive-ins alive, they are still the drive-in or movie theater. in-depth history of drive-ins. He writes steadily closing annually, Hensgen said. “I think the future is what’s happened In 2018, Hensgen tracked eight to 10 the last several years, you know, some of that drive-ins hit their peak in the 1950s and 60s with more than 4,000 operational drive-ins that planned to open, either them are going to continue to close and a locations, but began to decline in the 70s being built from the ground up or handful will remain open.” when at-home movies with VHS tapes renovated. Of those, Hensgen said only three ended up successfully opening. became popular. By the 2000s, drive-ins began to Additionally, 10 to 12 existing drive-ins make a come-back, but then the film closed in 2018. “Unfortunately, every year we are industry switched from film reels to
— barbara egbert
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Food & Shelter, Inc. STORY BY TIM HATTON / PHOTOS BY MEGAN ROSS
A Norman organization provides local homeless and impoverished with meals seven days a week and a house that feels like home
onday mornings are energetic at Food & Shelter in Norman, a community center and housing development serving the homeless population in town. The building is loud as bursts of conversation spill into the front hallway from the cafeteria where several dozen residents and guests wait for lunch to be served at 11 a.m. A few others sit in a warmly-lit waiting room with comfortable chairs, hoping to talk to volunteers and staff about getting help to meet their needs, which range from housing to mental health services to diapers for their kids. Since the office is closed on the weekend, the wait is longer than usual on Mondays. But no one seems to mind, and the staff is friendly and eager to help. One office worker is Amber Williams. Williams started volunteering at Food & Shelter a few months ago and moved up to a work-experience position a little while afterward. Before she started in the office, though, she was on the other side of the counter. Williams has dealt with homelessness off and on for most of her life. Now she lives in one of many tiny houses in a recently built small neighborhood on Food & Shelter’s property northeast of downtown. “I don’t want to be homeless again,” Williams said. “Statistically, (because I have been before,) I’m very close to being homeless again, so that’s what we’re working toward: Keeping me from falling back into that. When I was asked to come work here, that’s when things really changed for me. I’ve thrived.” The person who asked Williams to come work was April Heiple, who has been the executive director of Food & Shelter for just over nine years. Heiple is quick to smile and speaks warmly when talking about the staff, residents and guests she oversees. In 2014, Heiple started planning and fundraising for a new location Food & Shelter could call home since its previous facility was old and cramped. The new campus opened in 2017 on Reed Avenue, off of East Main Street and 12th Street, and is about six times as large as the old building. During the initial brainstorming for the new facility, the shelter’s construction partners planned on creating one large building that would provide housing for several individuals and families. But Heiple had a different idea. She put herself in the mindset of a person in need of housing and realized she would want to live somewhere that felt more like a home. So, instead of one large shelter, the new campus has 32 small cottages that provide a place to live for members of the homeless community in Norman as they work toward finding long-term housing of their own. Half of the houses are studio-style residences with one
room and a bathroom, and the other half, designed for families, have two bedrooms so that parents and children can each have their own. The houses come furnished, but residents can take the furniture with them when they transition out, helping ease the financial burden of moving. The tiny houses are allotted based on need, not on any kind of merit or payment. This is unusual, since many shelters require residents to pass drug tests or join therapy programs. Heiple said one of her highest priorities is making sure those who need shelter get it. “You don’t have to be sober, you don’t have to be crime-free, but you do have to agree coming in that those are your ultimate goals: Things like sobriety, stable housing, staying out of jail,” Heiple said. “We’re thinking about that basic hierarchy of needs. First, people need to feel safe. Then we can think about getting them a job or tackling mental health issues. Their rent to us is setting goals and taking steps toward achieving those goals.” Most of the staff at Food & Shelter are caseworkers who spend a significant portion of their time checking up on residents and their goals. Williams, who deals with anxiety, says regular check-ins with her supervisor are helpful in managing her mental health because she knows someone else is looking out for her. The housing-first policy allows people who struggle with addiction or mental health issues and would otherwise sleep outside into a safe environment. One example is a man named Dennis, who was homeless in Norman for 18 years.
AMBER WILLIAMS HELPS HER GRANDSON KINGSTON READ A BOOK FROM THE COMMUNITY LIBRARY.
During the six months before Food & Shelter gave him a space, he was arrested 20 times for trespassing, public intoxication and other nonviolent offenses. “When we first said we were going to house him, the police said we were crazy, mental health (workers) said we were crazy— but we just took that chance,” Heiple said. “Somebody had to do something. Once he arrived, he said ‘Now that I’ve been housed, I never want to be homeless again.’” Dennis started a salvaging business, and within a year, he could live on his own and pay his own rent. “That was eight years ago, and he hasn’t been in jail once since then,” Heiple said. “He still drinks, he still has issues every now and then, he still accesses mental health facilities, which is important, but every time he needs something he calls me or one of my coworkers and says ‘I’m struggling. Can you help me get through this?’ And we help him get through it.” Unfortunately, Food & Shelter still can’t provide housing to everyone who needs it in Norman. According to its own estimates, between 220 and 250 men, women and children sleep outside every night for lack of somewhere else to stay. Even that number doesn’t tell the whole story, though: Over 3,000 people in Cleveland County qualify as homeless, according to standards set by the Oklahoma Department of Housing Services. That estimate takes into account those sleeping outside and in shelters, as well as those living in motels or sleeping on friends’ couches instead of at a residence they can call their own. One of Heiple’s goals is to build more cottages so additional housing is available to those without a permanent place to stay. In the meantime, the shelter serves three meals a day to anyone who needs them, homeless or not. It also provides regular classes, clinics and mental health and addiction recovery meetings. Because Food & Shelter’s full-time staff mostly consists of caseworkers, the food and classes are largely provided by volunteers. On the organization’s website, individuals can sign up as far as a year in advance for volunteer opportunities. Large groups from clubs to churches can coordinate with the shelter directly to find time slot to come in as a group. Carlos Frazier, a man with a short beard and a rich, gravelly voice is one of the guests who comes for volunteer-provided meals but doesn’t have a place to stay. “People need to know there’s not enough shelter,” Frazier said. “We get a lot of harassment from different people. Being homeless, you know, there’s a lot of stress on you. This kind of relieves some of that — at least for me it does. The food’s pretty good, and it’s a
RALPH BALES EATS BREAKFAST IN THE FOOD & SHELTER CAFETERIA.
good atmosphere, too. If more people were willing to help, like this young lady here,” he gestured to Heiple, “things would be much better.” Even though Frazier is just one of the 250 people who gets a meal at Food & Shelter every day, he and Heiple talk to and about each other like friends. That personal connection, Heiple says, is one of the shelter’s greatest strengths. “We’re about relationships, we’re about investing in people and taking people that have lived without stability their whole existence and creating stable families,” she said. “That happens through real, indepth investment. In the time people are with us, they achieve this life growth that probably wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had them here.” Williams agreed, emphasizing the importance of seeing people who are homeless as diverse individuals instead of a faceless group. It’s been one of her priorities as she works in the office. “I always thought of the street homeless people kind of as one, but now I know each of their names,” she said. “Because I get it. I can relate to all of them, I’ve been there. I don’t want to look people up, I don’t want to know what they did, because then I might pass judgement. I’m just trying to help people.”
women’s gymnastics side story p. 30
winning formula How Mark Williams became one of the winningest coaches in men’s gymnastics history BY GEORGE STOIA
Photo by Paxson Haws.
ark Williams has a daily routine. The Oklahoma men’s gymnastics coach wakes up at 5:20 a.m., drinks a cup coffee, arrives to the gym no later than 5:50 a.m., does an hour of morning workout with his team, goes home and walks his dogs, drives back to the gym at 10 a.m., eats lunch at noon, returns to the gym at 1:30 p.m., coaches practice at 1:45 p.m. and finally arrives back home around 6:30 p.m. “That’s my life,” Williams said with a smile. “I love it.” Williams, now in his 19th season as OU’s head coach, is one of the most decorated and wellrespected coaches in all of gymnastics. He’s won nine national titles (soon to be 10), including the last four in a row, and is leading the Sooners on one of the most historic win streaks in all of sports — 114 matches and counting. So, how is Williams this successful? “People want to know the secret of Oklahoma gymnastics, the secret of Mark Williams,” said Guard Young, who competed for Williams on the U.S. National Team from 2000 to 2004. “Well, it’s just that the guy is a workhorse. His work ethic is second to none.” In Williams’ own words, he has no secret. “I don’t think there’s a secret,” Williams said candidly. “I think there’s a formula.” This “formula” has created a winning culture in OU’s program. From his daily routine to the way he sets his lineup each weekend, Williams has perfected every little piece he’s done over his 30-year career. He focuses on how he, and his gymnasts, can improve day-in and dayout, harping on the small details and planning everything to a T. He rarely reflects on the past, keeping his eyes wide open and his goals in mind. OU is one of the most dominant programs not only in gymnastics, but all of sports. And at 60 years old, Williams is showing no signs of slowing down. “The consistency of his success is really mindboggling,” OU athletics director Joe Castiglione said. “When you think about what coach Williams and his team has been able to achieve since we hired him, it’s perhaps one of the most unbelievable sports stories ever.”
“What does the team need? It’s not always about winning. It’s about getting better.” When Williams arrived at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, as a freshman in 1972, he knew he wanted to join the gymnastics team. But when the wrestling coach saw Williams workout, he tried to get the 14-year-old to switch sports. Williams politely declined. “I told the wrestling coach, ‘Well, I like gymnastics, so I’m going to stick with that,’” Williams said. “I don’t know enough if I had the mentality to be a wrestler. I wasn’t mean enough.” From there, he was introduced to Paul Omi, the head men’s gymnastics coach at Lyons Township at the time. Omi saw potential in the young gymnast. “He was always a willing learner, and that impressed me about him,” Omi said. “His determination is what stood out. He would set his mind to something, and he would follow through.” Omi remembers Williams showing up to his first day of practice not having his paperwork with him. Omi told him he’d have to miss practice and to come back when he had it. But Williams wasn’t about to miss practice. “The son of a gun ran home, got the paperwork, and came back to practice,” Omi said. “The rest is history.” Williams excelled under Omi, eventually earning a spot on Nebraska’s roster in 1977 under legendary gymnastics coach Francis Allen. He then helped the Cornhuskers win five straight national championships first as an athlete (1977-81), then as a graduate assistant (1982). While at Nebraska, he earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education, which he credits for the majority of his coaching style. Williams focuses on detail and precision. He wants his gymnasts to realize their mistakes, learn from them and improve on the next attempt. “You want to, as a coach, prepare your guys to be in a position to get better. No matter what the sport is,” Williams said. “I don’t always put out
our best lineup every single weekend. I try to look at it from the perspective of ‘What does the team need?’ It’s not always about winning. It’s about getting better.” After a short stint as a high school coach, Williams joined Oklahoma’s staff in 1988. He left to become an assistant for the U.S. Olympic team for the 1996 games after being named the USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 1994. Williams was well on his way to becoming one of the most sought-after coaches in the country. “He’s just something else. I don’t know how he does it,” Omi said. “I could have never guessed that little boy I knew at Lyons Township would one day turn into the best coach in gymnastics, but I did know he had great determination. And that’s what’s gotten him this far.”
“Don’t think of this as an audition, think of this as your team.” When Castiglione had to make a new head coach hire for the men’s gymnastics team in 2000, he knew who he wanted. Williams was already on the staff as an assistant and was promoted by Castiglione as interim head coach right before the season. “I told him, ‘Don’t think of this as an audition, think of this as your team,’” Castiglione said. “We finished fourth. That’s the lowest one of his teams has ever finished. That’s crazy. That’s absolutely unreal.” Williams went to work right away after being named the interim head coach in 2000, implementing changes he felt were needed within the program by having early morning workouts that didn’t focus solely on gymnastics, but instead just strength and conditioning. He also hired three international coaches from China, Japan and Russia. “I tried to pick their brains. Those are the three best gymnastics countries in the world,” Williams said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had an original thought. I’ve taken it all from the people that are way ahead of their time and doing things that are
just amazing and trying to bring it back to Oklahoma and create an environment here that sort of emulates what some of the best programs in the world are doing.” Williams won his first national championship in just his third season as head coach, leading the Sooners to a 28-1 record. His career took off from there, winning a second title in 2003 and becoming a personal coach for the U.S. Olympic team for the 2004 games in Athens. Young, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and was an assistant at OU for nine years (2000-05, 2011-15), says Williams is a players’ coach. He spends countless hours in the gym with his athletes, wanting to see each of them reach their goals individually. “He knows how to maximize everyone’s potential,” said Young, who is now the head coach of the Brigham Young University women’s gymnastics team. “He’ll make just an average gymnast great and he’ll make a great gymnast even better. He just has the uncanny ability to get the most out of every single one of his athletes.” Williams keeps an abundance of notes and records in his office. Young remembers Williams often referring to past notes or schedules he made years prior to help his current team. “We would be sitting in the office in a coaches meeting and he would say, ‘You know what, this team that we have, it really feels like the team in 2002 when we won a national championship.’” Young recalled. “And then he goes to his filing cabinet and pulls out the training schedule from 2002, slaps it down and says, ‘Ok, let’s try to emulate something that we did back then.’ “It’s unbelievable to have that sixth sense of what his team is like.” This kind of outlining and preparation is what has made Williams so successful not only at Oklahoma, but nationally, as well. “That’s something Mark is great at: planning and getting these guys ready for where they need to be. That’s a big aspect of being ready to compete at the highest level,” said Jake Dalton, a former OU gymnast and U.S. national champion.“But he also, and maybe more importantly, understands how to build a team. He knows who fits best where and what’s best for the team.” Williams has won national titles in 2002, 2003,
Mark Williams and Jake Dalton. Photo provided by OU Athletics.
2005, 2006, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017 and, most recently, 2018, posting a remarkable .928 winning percentage as a head coach. He’s a nine-time national coach of the year and an 11-time USA International Team coach. Many say he is the Nick Saban of men’s gymnastics. But that’s backward. Nick Saban is the Mark Williams of football. “You can’t ever predict something like that, no matter how clairvoyant you think somebody might be — there’s absolutely no way one can predict something like that,” Castiglione said. “What he has been able to do and make this the true destination for gymnasts is beyond words.”
“It’s kind of fun to have a little chaos, too.” Williams went on his first vacation last year. He and his wife, Susan, went to Hawaii. It was an adjustment for Williams, who never splits from his daily routine. “It was worth it,” Williams said. “But the first few days it feels uncomfortable not being in the gym and knowing there’s things to do with the guys. But then, about a week in, you’re like, ‘I could get used to this.’” Fortunately for Oklahoma, Williams returned from his lone vacation. In 2019, he’s led the Sooners through another magical season, building on his past success in hopes of leading Oklahoma to a fifth straight national championship. He says it’s been a long journey to get to where he is today, but it won’t be something he reminisces on until he retires. “It started by putting days on top of days, and then weeks on top of weeks, and now years on top of years,” Williams said. “I don’t sit back and appreciate it very often. Look at my daily schedule — there’s always the next day. There’s always the next meet. That’s why I’m diligent about my schedule because there’s so much to do. If I sit back and evaluate all that we have done as
regular season meets
Michigan Illinois Navy
Highlight matches from the men’s 2019 regular season. The team went undefeated. a program, it will distract me from what has to be done and to continue to do what we do.” Williams wears two watches, sporting an Apple Watch on his right wrist to make sure he doesn’t miss any texts from his wife, and a FitBit on his left wrist to make sure he hits his exercise goal for the day. For Williams, it’s just another way to stay on top of things. “I’m 60, and I’m still a little obsessed with tracking fitness,” Williams said, laughing. “I’m trying to battle the age syndrome, you know?” Williams doesn’t know how much longer he’ll coach — likely until he physically can’t. He continues to find happiness in the gym, coaching gymnasts he adores. There isn’t much discord in his life. He says his two dogs — an Australian shepherd mix and a golden retriever — combined with his four cats, keep him on his toes. And for him, that’s all the chaos he needs. “It’s kind of fun to have a little chaos, too,” Williams said with a grin. “But not too much.”
Williams claps after one of his athletes competes March 9. Photo by Paxson Haws.
above the competition OU womenâ€™s gymnastics team breaks records, brings home the hardware STORY BY PAXSON HAWS PHOTOS BY CAITLYN EPES
en’s gymnastics isn’t the only team that’s found success — the OU women’s gymnastics team also outperforms the competition thanks to intense athletes and a dedicated coaching staff. K.J. Kindler, head coach for OU women’s gymnastics, has led the team to three national championships since 2014. The team also recently won its eighth-straight Big 12 Championship, which it also won in 2008, 2009 and 2010. “It’s so overwhelming. You work for it. You plan for it. You train for it,” Kindler said. “But when it actually happens, it’s mesmerizing. An out-ofbody experience.” The Sooners ran with that feeling until they faced defeat last year after coming short of winning back-to-back-to-back national championships when UCLA secured a victory by a margin of 0.325. “They certainly did everything they could. Just like the overwhelming feeling of ‘Wow, we did it’ — we had that same feeling in reverse,” Kindler said. “ YOU WORK FOR IT. YOU PLAN FOR IT. YOU TRAIN FOR IT, BUT WHEN IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS, IT’S MESMERIZING. ”
Now, the 2019 season is a chance for a comeback. The Sooners already defeated No. 2 UCLA in the regular season — which was the fifth time the team had an undefeated regular season under Kindler — but they will face them again during the national championship weekend April 19-20. The team raked in the postseason awards with 16 All-American honors from the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association and eight All-Big 12 Awards. Senior Brenna Dowell has specifically stood out this year, earning herself four All-American honors and three All-Big 12 awards. Dowel was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Year four times, the most in the conference this season. Behind Dowell is junior Maggie Nichols, who was awarded first team All-American honors for uneven bars and beam, along with two All-Big 12 awards. But winning awards is not the only thing this team does. It also set records. In 2014, Oklahoma set an NCAA record score of 198.175 when the team won its first national championship. They broke the record again in 2017 with a score of 198.3875. This year, the team also set an opening weekend record with a score of 198.050. Heading into regional competition April 5-6, the Sooners were undefeated and ranked No. 1. Oklahoma will move on to nationals after winning regionals with a score of 198.475. The 2019 national championship is April 19-20, and Kindler and her team will look to secure another victory to support their legendary time at the top of the collegiate women’s gymnastics world.
In January, OU President James Gallogly selected Jackie Wolf to serve as the university’s chief human resources officer. Wolf, who had previously worked with Gallogly at LyondellBasell Industries, brings 36 years of corporate experience with her to the position after working at prominent businesses like General Electric and General Motors. Wolf said she is looking forward to taking on the challenge of transitioning into higher education. In her position, Wolf serves as an adviser to multiple executive search committees looking for future administrators on all three of OU’s campuses, including the search for the next chief diversity officer. Additionally, she is also involved with “phase one” of Gallogly’s diversity and inclusion initiative that began this semester after multiple incidents of racism. Wolf sat down with CQ to discuss her goals at the university: Q: You’re unique to this administration in the sense that you’ve worked with President Gallogly in the private sector and now in the public sector. What do you think the differences and similarities have been working with him in both areas?
JACKIE WOLF: OU’S NEW CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER STORY BY NICK HAZELRIGG PHOTO BY AUSTIN CARRIERE EDITOR’S NOTE: ANSWERS WERE LIGHTLY EDITED FOR CLARITY AND LENGTH.
A: From a similarity perspective … He looks at the mission and he’s a very strategic leader both in the corporate sector and here, and being able to step back and say, “What’s our vision for the university?” or “What’s the vision for the corporation?” … He’s an operations-oriented leader, as well. So he does like to get into the details. The differences include just stepping into a higher education perspective versus corporate world. Although, I have to admit, when I’ve looked at it I
have found more similarities than differences. Especially in my role of working in human resources, I have an opportunity to work with human capital in an organization … So I find more similarities than differences. Q: In regards to executive search committees, what do you advise the committees you work with to look for in executive candidates?
and Norman. So all of our leaders have our affirmative action plans, which tie directly to underrepresented groups. When we’re hiring … (we can) say, “Where do we have gaps in our university and how do we want to focus on that? What kind of outreach do we want to do?” Q: Is it a big shift for you, after being in the private sector, to work with an issue such as racism, which has a high level of public interest and scrutiny?
A: We do a training session on implicit bias. We really want to spend time with the search A: In a university, while we have First Amendment rights and the opportunity to committee to ensure that they maybe be a little more vocal understand unconscious and than in some private sector conscious bias, and how, areas, a lot of times the issues during interviewing and are the same. And what I assessing and evaluating TREATING PEOPLE like about the university is candidates, that flows WITH DIGNITY, that we get the exposure to through their mind, and how WITH RESPECT, those issues and have the do we ensure that there’s WITH COMPASSION opportunity to discuss them no bias in the process? I AND MAKING SURE very openly and have the generally have sat in every WE GIVE THE RIGHT opportunity to solve them single search committee KIND OF NOTICE openly. interview ... Big qualities in AND SUPPORT IS candidates are teamwork, CRITICAL. Q: How have you handled your accountability, transparency, role at the university during open communications. a time with such significant Leadership is important layoffs and staff reductions? — how they manage their people. Are they a servant A: That is and always has been the most difficult leader? You know, those kinds of things. part of my job. Because when I look at our talent, Q: Could you describe your role in phase one what differentiates us? Our people (are) who of President Gallogly’s diversity and inclusion we are. It’s our culture. It’s what makes us who we are. And that is the hardest part of my job, initiative? without a doubt. A: My involvement with that was really stepping back and providing coaching and counseling … One of the things I’ve learned in those very Of those phase one activities, we’re making some difficult decisions is that they do occur and they progress. But we’re pleased to say we posted the happen, but it’s ... how they happen that is most chief diversity officer (position) ... We actually important. So treating people with dignity, with just communicated and published our affirmative respect, with compassion and making sure we give action plans for both the Health Sciences Center the right kind of notice and support is critical.
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