I remember being a child and walking along the University of Oklahoma south oval during springtime. Red and white roses cascaded colors like an Alice in Wonderland portrait while the birds chirped a hymn. As late winter melted to spring, the groundskeepers at OU begun to plant their seasonal floral selection for students, faculty, and bystanders alike.
But that was under older, traditional management. That was during a time when beauty was held to the same standards as practicality. Now the times have changed; much like the internal affairs of the current administration, the outside is beginning to wither away.
Via the OU Daily:
University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly said most of the landscaping employees terminated in the Feb. 7 round of layoffs were seasonal workers.
Five personnel positions assigned to the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center (HSC) landscaping turf management were eliminated due to changes in the campus’ landscaping requirements, a university spokesperson said. The reduction accounts for 29 percent of the HSC’s landscaping department.
Gallogly said the landscaping department previously had landscapers year-round, although during the winter there was not much work to be done.
Since former President David Boren’s departure, President Jim Gallogly has taken the initiative to gut funding from the backbone forward. Where the money is being allocated to is still up for debate. Meanwhile, programs like landscaping are being thinned down to the bare minimum.
For those not familiar with how the formal south oval used to look like, here is a promotional photo for the University of Oklahoma freely used by students during school projects.
Here’s another photo from May of last year:
Here’s what it looks like today. If ever there were an emblematic look at how Gallogly’s administration is handling the university, this photo should do the trick:
Near the end of 2018, the landscaping department lost over 26 utility vehicles including a pick-up truck and a backhoe tractor. These budget cuts dished out by Gallogly’s administration has left the university’s south oval looking less like a fine-arts garden and more like the dirt pile cluttered with colorful weeds. This, of course, is not to the fault of the landscaping crews – the employees can only do what they can while rubbing two nickels together and hoping for a miracle.
He’s no gardener but he enjoys a walk through the flowers. Follow Brandon on Twitter @notshabbywriter.