Cal’s Corner: Inside OU’s Ongoing Soap Opera

For the better part of a year, a relentless drama has played out at The University of Oklahoma. Salacious allegations of sexual misconduct against former OU President David Boren. An investigatory expose that makes the Trump-Russia dossier look rudimentary, by comparison. Boren’s resignation and replacement by business tycoon, wealthy OU alum and donor James Gallogly. Gallogly’s unbreakable streak of headline-creating guffaws, as he endeavored to erase Boren’s legacy. And, now, Gallogly has resigned.

We’ve all seen the headlines, but what’s really going on behind the scenes and beneath the surface?

How in the world did this S.N.A.F.U. (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up) ever get to this point — with so much damage imposed on so many; supported by so little evidence; offered by such questionable characters; and paid for by you and me, the also-victimized tax payers?

What follows is my answer to those questions. And when all this peters out, my version will be closer to the truth than most.It has taken the concerted effort of powerful, influential citizens to put former University of Oklahoma President David Boren in the crosshairs of several investigative groups, including the world’s largest and probably most expensive law firm, Jones Day, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations and — briefly — the Norman Police Department.

What apparently started as an inquiry into college academic rankings by a national magazine morphed into a 50-page document about alleged sexual harassment involving Boren and male employees of the university. Two individuals have publicly claimed to be victims, one supposedly targeted by Boren and the other by former University of Oklahoma Vice President Tripp Hall. However, Boren’s accuser* retracted his claim, in writing, and then asked Boren for money shortly thereafter. *Note to defense attorney Brewster: Better put this guy on the witness stand.

Regardless of such machinations, multiple sleuths from the powerful and expensive law firm — including a former Republican United States Attorney based in Georgia — have managed to rack up over $550,000 in billable hours for their work interviewing dozens or more folks who claim to know Boren well… or at least heard of him. Who knows. The regents have been hush-hush about the taxpayer-funded dossier (oops, sorry to use that fancy word). Maybe People Magazine gossip grinder fits better.

This sad saga is about money, titles, power and prestige.

Money, Titles & Power
The central player is former OU regent and chairman, Clay Bennett – husband of a Gaylord daughter, principal owner and day-to-day decider at the OKC Thunder. He was an adamant opponent of Boren’s one-cent sales tax increase earmarked for schools, which turned out to be a big time loser on the ballot in November 2016. And why Bennett’s virulent opposition to that, you ask, especially in light of the fact that OU would receive a slice of the new revenue? Because cities rely on the sales tax for almost all of their revenue and, even more importantly, MAPS FOR EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF is funded by sales tax — including, most importantly, the Chesapeake Arena, home of Bennett’s double-dribblers.

Co-conspirators with Bennett in taking out Boren were powerful, anti-tax Republican legislators, who punished OU and other colleges during the 2017 legislative session by reducing higher education funding by the exact amount the tax increase would have added to their appropriation — 16.4 percent. Coincidence? Hardly.

So that covers the money part, mixed with titles and power: a regent chairman and lawmaking nitwits vs. a former governor, senator and sitting president of our flagship research university. As for prestige?

A little dicier but still a factor was the permanent banishment by Boren of a certain racist fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, after an especially embarrassing racist video in 2015 became public. That video captured some of the young, white men in a full-throated tune about who would — and wouldn’t — ever become a brother in SAE. As expected, many of those young, well-to-do lads have well-to-do dads and granddads, who were frat boys back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when the racial landscape was a bit different. Old habits and bigotries die-hard in Oklahoma, and not all of the Golden Greek Alums (actually all white) agreed with the 21st century punishment meted out by the Washington D.C.-born and Oxford-educated Boren. 

This soap opera continues locally and nationally and has only been interrupted only by what most Sooners really care about… OU football.

Translated, that also means, SITUATION NORMAL, ALL FOOTBALLED UP. And, as President Gallogly recently signed off in his lengthy resignation letter, let me also say…

Boomer Sooner!

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38 Responses

  1. As a long-time Sooner fan and football season ticket holder, I hate what’s going on at OU. Its embarrassing and tragic. However, as the thousands upon thousands of fans cannot do a thing about it, we’ll continue to go to the games and cheer on our Sooners. Not a thing wrong with caring about Football, my friend. So, yeah……… BOOMER SOONER!

    1. Yeah, its not like you can show up to the public meetings and complain about the impropriety at the University or ask that more be done to change policy.

      Just go to the football games cause thats what really matters in Norman.

      1. Pretty sure that’s already occurring. There’ll be another President at some point. Meanwhile, Sooner fans will continue to go to the games. Its fun. Oh, and the weight of the University doesn’t sit on my shoulders, so…

        1. Do us all a favor. Keep going to watch the kids chase a ball, and skip the whole voting thing.

          1. Don’t worry, I will. And I won’t lose a night’s sleep over it. Why don’t you preach to the OSU fans that still went to the games after the Sports Ill. scandal? Or Penn State fans? Did football stop? Nope. Nuff said.

    2. We had tickets for 15 years. Got tired of the commercialism, money grabbing and sub par product. Why do we give state employees multi year multi million dollar deals when our state seems to be so broke on education? Stay home and turn off your tv.

  2. SNAFU pretty well spells out the State of our State. Just another example of many wrong things done by “conservative” leadership…..

  3. Finally an article that makes sense of this tragic assault on Boren and our beloved university.

  4. There’s more to this story and Cal knows it. Boren had positions created for his “friends”, high paying positions with no teaching responsibilities. Some of these positions were funded through hidden federal programs. Boren has been feathering his nest since he first got elected Governor. One of the first things he did as Gov was to try to force OSU President Bob Kamm to create a vice president position in the Ag department at OSU for one of David’s cronies. Kamm refused and in 1978 it became an election topic in the Senate race. Getting back to the hidden federal programs, just rememberize yourself: “Between February and August of 2001, Zacarias Moussaoui lived in Norman, Oklahoma and attended Airman Flight School at Max Westheimer Airport, which is owned and operated by the University of Oklahoma. Moussaoui even lived in a university dormitory. According to Moussaoui’s indictment, Atta and Al-Shehhi had visited the same flight school in July, 2000, but did not take classes there.” Couple that with the Baboon research facility and Boren was in up to his elbows of intelligence programs being run under the table. Once he left, those funds left as well.

    1. Does working with a “fuddlepecker” always lead to a SNAFU? Sorry about your handicap, Mr. F; I’m sure it impairs your thinking as well as your luck with relationships.

    2. +1000

      1. Meant for FF not Elaine. Just to clarify !!!

    3. Well done. Thank you.

    4. So Boren is responsible for 9/11 also. Aha! Thou speakest as a Republican, or plain Publican (I can never get those seperated)

  5. Interesting info, Cal.

  6. I am so sick of political bullshit. Just run the damn school and quit stealing, quit grabbing ass, quit hooking up your friends … in other words quit acting like a typical Okie politician. Jesus, why does everyone abuse their power? Can’t we just have a few people who are honest and moral?

    1. People like Donald Trump? Fearless outsiders who drain swamps while tweeting and shitting into golden toilet bowls?

    2. No.

  7. Thank God Clay Gaylord is gone from the board. The way he looked at his resignation, the planet may be next.

  8. Here’s an idea! Why don’t we try hiring someone trained and currently employed as a college administrator! We see how well hiring politicians and oil men work out.

    1. +1000

  9. Come on Cal, your headline taunts like you know something the rest of us don’t !!!

    1. Hi Jan. So you knew the budget cuts for higher education in 2017 matched exactly the amount of new money it would have received if the sales tax had passed or that Bennett told Boren directly and repeatedly to drop the idea of the sales tax for higher ed or of Bennett’s direct involvement with the SAE issue, or that the lead blood hound for Jones/Day is a former US Attorney for the state of Georgia or that the two leaders in the house and senate personally arranged for the higher ed cuts (can you name them?); I think not but they were former Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and still current Speaker Charles McCall or……………………did you think I really had direct quotes from Jess Eddy on what President Boren allegedly said eight years ago in San Antonio? This is a family blog and there is a limit to what even I will place in a column but here’s your opportunity to expand on my reporting.

      PS. I did have an hour and half conversation with an OU regent this afternoon about their meeting tonight but since you probably already know how that’s going to play out I’ll just keep it to myself.

      1. There’s nothing left of Jan but a vapor trail.

        Not to toot my own horn, but I did realize and suspect that something was fishy when the budget cuts matched the proposed sales tax estimated revenue.

        I also heard the rumors re: the SAE debacle and Bennett’s involvement and displeasure with OU’s decision.

        Cal – i didn’t know about the other items you pointed out. Thank you for this.

        1. Thank you Okie in Austin. Look for Mr and Mrs Gallogly soon shopping in the nearest upscale grocery store. They may be in town by next week.

        2. Buy the man a drink!!

  10. On the morning of 9/11, CIA Director George Tenet was having breakfast in Washington with his long-time mentor, former Oklahoma Senator David Boren. While a Senator, Boren was the longest serving chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). According to Tenet, Boren plucked him from obscurity in 1987 to serve first as his aide and then, later as the staff director for the SSCI.
    There certainly were a lot of clues, and many of them seemed to implicate David Boren and his university. Boren had no intention of mentioning those clues, however. He didn’t mention that the airport run by the university where he was president had been training Zacarias Moussaoui to fly. He also failed to point out that Mohamed Atta and other alleged 9/11 hijackers had called, emailed and visited his airport in the two years before 9/11. Additionally, it might have been of interest to the listeners that the FBI had showed up several times over the years to talk to the people at Airman Flight School, located at Boren’s airport, about the training of terrorism suspects.

    1. Don’t you have a pizza parlor to shoot up?

    2. Okay. Did Boren meet with the FBI regarding their concerns? Since when did it become, “Boren’s airport”?

      Why did the FBI miss the flight training connection and foreign students?

      If we are looking for conspiracies – Who was the governor at the time? Which political party was in power in OK/DC? Hell, who was coaching OU football? They all should have caught the 911 hijackers; it was plain as day [in 20/20 hindsight}.

      Why are you bringing up Boren at all in an article about the current, soon to be past, president?

      Your argument is derived from a common debate tactic – WHATABOUTISM. Dragging up past, sometimes way past, incidents to cloud the topic.

      Got a bone to pick with Boren? Write your own article and submit it.

      1. Here’s the bone I’ve got to pick with Buffy. He’s gay and refuses to come out of the closet. Instead of supporting LBGTQ he abuses them. Using the young men, and there are far more than 2. He built his power base by threatening to out fellow gays that led lives as married men. He’s a worthless piece of crap and it’s time to call a spade a spade.

        1. You have a problem with Boren (allegedly) being gay? How tragic for you!

          1. How tragic for Boren!

        2. Fred, you seem to have first hand knowledge about this. Care to share?

  11. Boren’s was a little exotic for most Okies but he fit right in with the Sooner culture. Bring him and the boy toys back and move on. Boomer Sooner!

  12. Oklahoma continues to be an embarrassment at ALL levels.

  13. Is Scott Pruitt still available? OU needs the hard right religious freaks to mix in with monster oil and the hard core gopers.

  14. OK, but how will this affect the football thing?

    Because that’s what’s most important, right? Football?

    Can I get an “Amen”?

    GO SOONERS! TAKE STATE! [or whatever the hell gets mindlessly shouted at those events]

  15. Hopefully this won’t hurt recruiting, if we brought Boren and his “special friends” back in charge and gave them all salary increases and just moved on “forgive and forget “. If anyone objects just call them bigots and move on.

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