Financial challenges continue at University of Oklahoma

February 6, 2019
Ken Rowe, chief financial officer for the University of Oklahoma, speaks during the OU Board of Regents meeting in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP)

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The condition of the University of Oklahoma’s finances remains troubling, despite recovery efforts taken in the last seven months, OU’s chief financial officer said in a report to the Board of Regents.

OU President Jim Gallogly asked CFO Ken Rowe to provide a status report at the regents’ meeting last week, The Oklahoman reported.

“There’s been a mixed message out there in the public about where we stand financially, whether in fact we do have need to change the way we do the business part of the university,” Gallogly said.

Gallogly has slashed expenses and reduced staff to address years of overspending since becoming OU president last July. He criticized the university’s debt load exceeding $1 billion , asserting OU was on track to lose another $15 million this fiscal year without changes.

Additional layoffs are expected this year, but officials haven’t indicated how many people will be affected.

Lauren Brookey, OU spokeswoman, said Gallogly is leaving those decisions to department administrators who have been tasked with identifying efficiencies in their budgets.

Calling the situation “very troubling,” Rowe told the regents OU has double the debt and half the cash on hand it did a decade ago.

“We’re operating on a very thin margin right now. Of all the things I’m concerned about, this is probably the one I’m most concerned about,” he said.

Gallogly noted that the financial steps taken to date have resulted in $32 million in savings. “Because of the dedication of our faculty, we are actually seeing very, very positive numbers in research,” he said. “We’re already well on our way to achieving our goal of doubling research funding.”

OU research awards are up 25 percent in new sponsored projects for the fiscal year, amassing a total of $178 million as of Dec. 31, according to Gallogly. “These financial issues can be solved,” he said.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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