OU puts drama professor on leave amid misconduct allegations

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) - A professor at the University of Oklahoma has been put on leave after new allegations against him have surfaced.

OU Drama students, faculty and staff received an email from school administrators over the weekend saying that Professor Tom Orr will not be teaching starting Monday.

The university released a statement to students saying,

"In light of recent allegations, Professor Orr has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. Due to the confidential nature of this personnel issue, this is the extent of the University’s comment at this time. The University’s primary concern is the welfare of its students."

The University is not going into detail on the new claims, but Orr has a history with sexual harassment at OU.

"He should be gone from the university because of what he has done to myself and others," said Zak Houara. a former OU drama student now living in Texas.

He says professor Orr had many inappropriate conversations with him and others while in school in Norman.

"He started to ask me intimate details about my sex life. Whether like, how many partners I'd had, what my position was, if I was using protection. It was an extremely uncomfortable situation for him to be having with me," said Houara.

The OU Daily reports several students made claims of sexual harassment against Orr back in 2018 when he was head of the OU Drama department.

Houara is not surprised by the new allegations.

He is glad the University has taken action against Orr.

"The students are no longer in his harm's way. It's definitely the right step, but there needs to be more action taken," said Houara.

The University is not saying how long the leave will last.

Houara says he and former students will be watching to see what comes from the investigation.

"I honestly have absolutely no faith in the Title IX office at OU. They have continued to let allegations either get swept under the rug. They don't conduct transparent investigations," said Houara.

News 4 reached out to The OU Drama Department and to Professor Orr, neither has responded.

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