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Education University of Oklahoma president announces resignation

University of Oklahoma president announces resignation

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — University of Oklahoma President Jim Gallogly, whose short tenure at the state’s flagship university included a sexual misconduct probe of its longtime former president and bitter student reaction to a racist incident on campus, announced his resignation on Sunday.

A former energy industry CEO and major OU donor who began his tenure on July 1, Gallogly said he informed the university’s regents that he would step down once they have a transition plan in place. Brought in to help tighten the university’s finances, Gallogly soon found OU embroiled in an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former President David Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator who led the institution for 24 years.

In a statement released by the university on Sunday, Gallogly pushed back against any suggestion that his decisions on the university’s finances, which included the firing of many longtime executives under Boren, was intended to diminish his predecessor’s legacy.

“That false narrative is now also being used to question the motives and propriety of the ongoing investigation of alleged misconduct,” Gallogly said in a statement released by the university. “The university was required by law to commence an investigation upon the receipt of complaint(s). That process has been ongoing according to its procedural mandate. The Jones Day law firm was hired to conduct an independent and unbiased, expert investigation and issue a report which the firm has now done.”

A former OU student, Jess Eddy, now 29, alleged he was touched and kissed inappropriately by Boren on several occasions almost a decade ago when the man worked as a teaching aide for Boren. Boren, now 78, has denied any inappropriate conduct in statements released by his attorneys. Eddy’s complaint led to an internal probe by the university, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation also has opened an investigation into the allegations.

Although the university’s Title IX process for investigating sexual misconduct allegations includes a role for the university’s president in the appeals process, Gallogly said because he is stepping down, a third party will be appointed to replace him in that role.

Oklahoma’s governor and the university’s regents praised Gallogly for improving the university’s financial position during his short tenure, while keeping tuition flat and approving a faculty pay raise.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt described Gallogly as an “upstanding individual who stepped in to lead the University of Oklahoma through a historical financial crisis.”

“He hit the ground running, working to deliver efficiencies in order to keep tuition flat for students and casting vision to grow OU’s graduate research programs,” Stitt said in a statement Sunday. “Gallogly’s love for his alma mater is evident, and I appreciate the time he gave to strengthen the foundation of this important university.”

But Gallogly’s financial decisions also upset some students and faculty, and he faced fierce criticism from students for his handling of an incident in January when a racist video was shared on social media of a white student in blackface using a slur.

In his statement, Gallogly thanked the university’s faculty and staff for helping to put the university on an improved financial path.

“This has been a difficult process for the university community but a necessary one,” he said.

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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