NORMAN, Okla. – After six hours in executive session, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents named an interim OU president.
“I’m pleased to announce tonight that Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. has been appointed interim president of the University of Oklahoma,” said Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, chairman for the OU Board of Regents.
The announcement comes after the OU Board of Regents spent hours behind closed doors discussing who will take on the role after Jim Gallogly stepped down just a few months shy of what would have been one year on the job.
“In his eight years at the OU College of Law, Joe has proven himself an effective leader and administrator with a collaborative leadership style that helped the school achieve distinction in virtually everything it does,” Rainbolt-Forbes said.
However, not everyone agrees. Former OU dean Suzette Grillot is concerned because of the tight relationship between Harroz and former OU president David Boren.
“I’m sad, and it’s disgraceful to me that you would appoint a Boren crony. This is an important decision when President Boren is under investigation,” Grillot said.
Part of the investigation includes sexual misconduct allegations from OU graduate Jess Eddy, who used to work for Boren.
“It don’t get closer to Boren than Joe Harroz. Joe’s been a legal representative for Boren for decades, general counsel. Boren’s been preying on young men for a long time. And, anybody that’s spent much time around him knows this,” Eddy said.
Boren has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The concern from some stretches beyond who was chosen as interim president but also surrounds how the decision was made.
“I’m disappointed to see that the board would move forward with the appointment of an interim president without any process, any conversation, any discussion, any inclusion,” Grillot said. “It doesn’t bode well, I think, for the future, in terms of what the future process will look like.”