Gov. Kevin Stitt has instructed the University of Oklahoma’s Board of Regents “to move forward with just doing the right thing” in regard to the investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against former OU President David Boren.
“I think they are taking it very seriously,” Stitt said Friday after a bill signing event. “They’re trying to shine a light on whatever happened, and they are trying to have a third party come in and investigate and say, ‘Hey, we’re an open book. You tell us what we need to do.'”
Hours after Stitt’s statement to NonDoc, Nolan Clay of The Oklahoman reported that OU has provided Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents with the report it received from Jones Day, a law firm hired by the university to investigate allegations against Boren. OU received a subpoena from the state’s multi-county grand jury, according to unnamed sources in The Oklahoman.
Jess Eddy, a former Boren teaching assistant who has alleged sexual battery by the former governor and U.S. senator, said he was “pleased” to hear OSBI has received the Jones Day report, but he said the process seemed delayed.
“As I have said from the outset, it was improper for the university to hire Jones Day to investigate these crimes in the first place,” Eddy said. “The university has a duty to turn over evidence of criminal misconduct to law enforcement immediately. This overly expensive investigation took months to complete and was concluded over a month ago.”
Eddy said he remained “suspicious” about “what’s really going on here.”
Prior to speaking to The Oklahoman about the Jones Day report, Stitt said he believed OSBI investigators and OU regents intend to ensure due diligence.
“I think Jim Gallogly, even though his term was very short, I think that he set that university on a correct track,” Stitt said. “I’m very excited about the two regents that I’ve appointed. We’ve stabilized the board. I’m excited about the interim president. (…) We want to be a top-class university. We want to make sure that we are an inclusive university.”
Stitt said anyone who “did wrong” would be punished, but he did not mention Boren or former OU Vice President for University Development Tripp Hall by name.
“The University of Oklahoma is a bright star in our state, and we need to continue to polish that star and make sure the world knows how great it is,” Stitt said. “And if there’s been a small little hiccup, we’re going to find it out, and we’re going to punish the folks that did wrong, and we’re going to move forward with a great plan. That’s the only way I know how to do it, and that’s why I’ve been instructing the Board of Regents to move forward with just doing the right thing.”
On Thursday, a series of national publications reported that OU had provided incorrect data about alumni donations to the U.S. News & World Report for two decades. A former staffer when Boren served in the U.S. Senate, Hall worked as executive director of OU’s alumni affairs from 1994 through 2008 before serving as vice president for university development from 2008 until his termination in 2018.
Boren and Hall have denied the allegations against them.