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 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 earlier this year 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.”
Regents announced on Wednesday that OU and Boren had agreed to end their relationship.
“David Boren no longer has any relationship going forward with the university,” said regents chairwoman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes. “The decision to accept his resignation terminates the Presidential Transition Agreement and brings this matter to a close. The university will now focus its energy and resources on strategic initiatives important to our community.”
Boren stepped down as president almost one year ago but remained affiliated with the university under the terms of an agreement signed in spring 2018. That agreement was terminated by Boren’s resignation.
Under the terms of that 2018 agreement, Boren was to continue teaching in the political science department and assist with development duties. In return, he was guaranteed an office, an assistant and other amenities.
The agreement also specified that Boren was to be given the customary title “president emeritus” upon his full retirement. It is unclear whether Boren will be denied the honorific since the agreement has been voided.
Rainbolt-Forbes said Wednesday’s resignation will close an internal inquiry into sexual harassment charges against Boren, who was OU’s president for 23 years and a governor and U.S. senator before that.
Reportedly, Boren remains the subject of investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
According to The Oklahoman, OU has spent more than $1 million on investigations related to Boren’s tenure as president. One of those involved allegations Boren made improper sexual advances to subordinates.
Former OU student and employee Jess Eddy, who went public with his allegations earlier this year, said Wednesday’s announcement “is an important step toward healing at the university, and the next steps include learning how this abuse was able to happen and how to prevent it from happening again. I look forward to an era of accountability at OU.”
A portion of a confidential report given to the media by Eddy indicates six incidents spanning 40 years were investigated.
Boren’s attorney, Clark Brewster of Tulsa, did not return a call Wednesday afternoon seeking comment.