University of Oklahoma: Resignation ends ex-president probe

June 12, 2019
FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2017, file photo, University of Oklahoma President David Boren, a former Democratic governor and U.S. senator, speaks at a news conference in Norman, Okla. The University of Oklahoma misreported data used to nationally rank the school for nearly 20 years, seriously impacting its prestige and reputation, a former student alleges in a federal lawsuit that seeks class-action status. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Oklahoma City estimates as many as 350,000 current and former students could be a part of the proposed class, with claims well in excess of $5 million. It was filed on behalf of Elani Gretzer, a Texas woman who says she enrolled at OU's Price College of Business in 2016 in part because of its national ranking by U.S. News, a company known for its lists of the nation's best colleges and universities. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The University of Oklahoma’s Board of Regents said Wednesday it has ended its investigation into former President David Boren after he chose to terminate his contract and sever ties to the school he led for 24 years.

The university was investigating whether Boren, 78, sexually harassed male subordinates. A former student alleges Boren touched and kissed him on several occasions almost a decade ago when the man worked as a teaching aide for the onetime governor and senator . Boren has denied wrongdoing.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation also is investigating the claims, and a former U.S. attorney has been appointed as a special counsel to oversee a multicounty grand jury to assist state investigators.

“David Boren no longer has any relationship going forward with the university as a result of his resignation,” Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, chairman of the OU Board of Regents, said in a statement. “The decision to accept his resignation terminates the presidential transition agreement and brings this matter to a close.”

Once a university employee voluntarily separates or resigns, the university no longer has jurisdiction, university spokeswoman Lauren Brookey said. The maximum sanction that the university’s Office of Institutional Equality could have imposed on Boren was termination, Brookey said.

Boren’s attorney, Clark Brewster, says Boren’s decision to terminate his contract was made in the university’s best interest.

“He chose to unilaterally let the university know that he would terminate his separation agreement, step aside and do whatever is necessary to cause resolution for the benefit of the university,” Brewster said. “I think he’s really taken the high road after being delivered some very, very low blows.”

Professor Suzette Grillot, an outspoken critic of the university’s administration who has filed a lawsuit alleging gender-based wage discrimination, was critical of the board’s decision to accept Boren’s resignation.

“The OU Board of Regents seems to think (wrongly) they can just wash their hands of David Boren, put the whole matter behind them and move on,” Grillot tweeted on Wednesday. “We shall see.”

Boren’s transition agreement with the university had given him the option of continuing to teach a class in the political science department. It also provided him with office space, football tickets, club membership, parking privileges and an assistant with a salary of up to $65,000.


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