OU Board of Regents to consider revoking status of former professor

NORMAN, Okla. – Following allegations of inappropriate behavior, the OU Board of Regents will consider revoking all honorary titles and status of a retired professor.

Recently, accusations against John Scamehorn, a professor emeritus for OU’s School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, have circulated around social media. Some have taken to Facebook, posting their experiences with Scamehorn in which they felt uncomfortable.

One person recalled Scamehorn would share details of his personal life, including trips to Thailand on behalf of the school’s engineering department: “He told me about the disgusting details of him buying prostitutes and how he liked Thai women because they were ‘so obedient.’”

Former assistants and students have also accused Scamehorn of having pictures “taken through his front window of young girls walking to and from school, and additional photos through the same window of him standing on the sidewalk with his dogs, talking to the children walking home, each individually labeled with the name of his street and a description of the girl.”

Scamehorn sent the following statement to News 4:

“I am aware of the rumors and allegations made against me online and in local media reports. In the strongest terms possible, I deny any wrongdoing.” 

OU officials told News 4 Scamehorn retired from the university in 2007 and “formally severed” any remaining employment status with the university on February 12, 2016.

In a statement, we’re told:

“While personnel matters are confidential, the university may comment on its policies and procedures generally. The university takes all reports of misconduct very seriously. Any complaints made to OU’s Office of Institutional Equity are promptly addressed. The office is tasked with identifying sexual harassment, eliminating the harassment and remedying its effects. The office protocols involve not only internal inquiry but also often involve coordination with local law enforcement and outreach to community entities. While former employees are not subject to disciplinary proceedings as the university has no legal or formal authority over them, we make every effort to ensure a safe learning environment free of discrimination or harassment. Additionally, in some circumstances when the propriety of a donor relationship is in question, the university has returned gifts to the donor.

In cases where a reported behavior could potentially constitute a crime, the university encourages but does not require victims to report and cooperate with law enforcement. While the university may not comment specifically as to any potential inquiry pertaining to Dr. Scamehorn, we have followed our protocols in fulfilling our obligation to provide a safe learning environment.”

On Tuesday, the OU Board of Regents will consider revoking Scamehorn's professor emeritus status.

According to the agenda, the regents will consider "formal revocation of all honorary titles, awards, or status, including but not limited to Professor Emeritus, with the University and any of its affiliates, effective immediately upon approval by the Board of Regents."