NORMAN, Okla. – An attorney for former Oklahoma governor and former University of Oklahoma president David Boren is adamantly denying allegations of sexual harassment amid an ongoing investigation.
This week, the university confirmed it has hired the Jones Day firm to conduct an independent investigation after receiving allegations of “serious misconduct that it was legally obligated to investigate.”
A source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to News 4 that the investigation includes Boren’s conduct with male aides during his tenure as OU president.
In an interview Thursday, Bob Burke, an attorney and spokesman for Boren denied any misconduct.
“I’m frustrated that he has been accused of horrible things without any details. We have never been informed by the university that there has been a formal complaint, and we’ve requested meetings with the Jones Day attorneys for months and they have refused to meet with us,” Burke said. “But, I’ve made an extensive list of hundreds of aides down through the years. I’ve heard from probably 15 to 20 former aides of Boren’s in the past 24 hours who have said, ‘Hey, talk to us. We’ll tell them, David Boren 100 percent of the time, whether in person or in public, always acts appropriately.'”
Burke, who has had a working relationship with Boren for more than 50 years, served as secretary of Commerce while Boren was governor and ran his first campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1978.
“I do not think officially that President Gallogly at the university would have had anything to do with this leak, but I believe that someone at the university doesn’t like David Boren and put out this rumor of an investigation when we have never been informed of any complaint nor have we received any summary of any complaint,” he said. “So, it is a nebulous accusation to which we are frustrated because we have no details and can’t confront any accuser.”
University officials confirmed a total of $84,802.50 has been issued from Jones Day for the investigation. However, they would not comment further on the matter Thursday, including why an outside firm has been brought in.
“President Gallogly has talked a lot about being a good steward of the university’s money and has made some very painful cuts and decisions,” said Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman. “I don’t know if there’s a requirement that there be some sort of outside firm, but we know, when there are allegations made against a student or against another faculty member, that there is an in-house counsel and there’s the Title 9 office that investigates things on behalf of students, and so I’m not sure why they went with an outside firm but I don’t know enough about it to make a strong statement either way.”
For Virgin, news of the accusation hits home as a graduate of the university and current representative of the district in Norman.
“David Boren is someone I have a lot of respect for and have always felt respected by him,” she said. “He has always been of the upmost appropriateness, and I’ve never felt any uncomfortableness being around him. I mean, just the consummate professional every time I’ve interacted with him. My understanding is that there was an allegation that was made, and so we have to take that seriously and it absolutely deserves to be investigated.”
Burke said, at this point, they are not contemplating any sort of legal action.