David Boren is pictured on the University of Oklahoma campus in 2018. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World file

Former University of Oklahoma President David Boren said Thursday that “a personal attack ... so vicious and relentless that it defied my comprehension” led him to agree to sever connections with the university this week.

“I deeply love the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said in a written statement released through his attorney, Clark Brewster of Tulsa. “The over 24 years I served at the university were the most rewarding years of my life. I will always be a supporter of the university and care about the university family.”

Boren was eased out of the presidency in 2018 amid complaints about his financial management of the school, and replaced by James Gallogly. It was subsequently revealed OU had been inaccurately reporting its alumni giving and an investigation into alleged sexual harassment was launched by the university.

Gallogly resigned last month after coming under fire himself.

“Last year, I came under a personal attack that was so vicious and relentless that it defied my comprehension,” Boren said. “As I wrote to the regents, I felt that it was best to resolve this matter rather than continue a battle which was damaging lives and the university itself. While I was tempted to pursue a continued battle to protect my reputation and demonstrate that I was innocent of any wrongdoing, I felt it was best for the university and all concerned for me to suggest a resolution to end this divisive and unfair controversy.

“I have only the best wishes for the university going forward.”

Boren elevated the university’s national profile and raised unprecedented amounts of money during his tenure, but his criticism of the state’s political leadership and support of a 1% state sales tax dedicated to education put him at odds with some prominent Oklahomans.

Some have viewed the recent claims about his leadership and personal behavior as an intentional attack on his legacy, while others say they are simply chickens come home to roost.

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Randy Krehbiel


Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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