Interim president likely when Gallogly retirement becomes official

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

OU President James L. Gallogly speaks during the OU Commencement ceremony, Friday, May 10, 2019, at Lloyd Noble Center. Two days later, on Sunday, May 12, Gallogly announced he intends to retire.

The Board of Regents for the University of Oklahoma will likely appoint an interim president as part of the transition from retiring President James Gallogly.

Gallogly, who took office officially in July of last year, announced on Sunday that he would retire once the regents have a transition plan in place. According to the OU Faculty Handbook, in the event a sitting president should step down or be absent from their role for more than 30 days, the regents will appoint an acting or interim president.

“The Acting or Interim President shall have all powers, duties, and responsibilities normally held by the President,” states the handbook in section 2.3.2, titled “Acting President.”

It is not known exactly how the board of regents will proceed. No timeline has been provided for his retirement, and questions to the university and board about details were not answered as of press time Monday.

If the regents conduct another presidential search like last time, it would be expected to take more than 30 days. The process to appoint Gallogly began in October of 2017 and continued into March.

The OU Faculty Handbook also contains an order of succession for instances when a sitting president is absent and unable to complete their duties. The senior vice president and provost of the Norman Campus — currently Kyle Harper — is next in line.

Following that is Senior Vice President and Provost of the Health Sciences Center Dr. Jason R. Sanders, then Vice President and General Counsel Anil Gollahalli, followed by Vice President for Administration and Finance Kenneth Rowe, then Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the Health Sciences Center, and finally Vice President for Student Affairs David Surratt.

Jill Hughes would also be included if she did not have an interim role as vice president for university development. But in this case, the regents can appoint an interim president regardless of the order of succession.

The length of time OU has an interim president would depend on the search process. And that may include a throwback to the last search.

As reported by the OU Daily, the contract between OU and the Storbeck/Pimintel & Associates search firm enables the firm to conduct the search for a replacement if the chosen candidate, Gallogly, leaves within a year. So if Gallogly leaves before July 2, Storbeck/Pimintel will be part of the search for his successor.

Last year, that search prompted some criticism from members of the OU community for its perceived lack of transparency. The names of finalist candidates were not provided and almost all of the discussion about the decision was had in executive session, behind closed doors.

“One thing must be clear...we must push for an open selection process for the next president of OU,” Adran Gibbs, OU Student Government Association president, tweeted on Sunday. “This will be something I will persistently push for as we begin our search for a new president.”

It is not clear in what way, if any, Gallogly’s retirement will impact the ongoing personnel investigation. In his statement, Gallogly said that in the event an appeal is made in that case, he will not fulfill the president’s normal role in that appellate committee and a third party will be appointed.

The investigation is reportedly over allegations of sexual misconduct against one or more former OU officials, namely former president David Boren. The two men who have publicly accused Boren and former vice president James “Tripp” Hall said through a spokesperson late Sunday that Gallogly’s retirement is welcome news, but only part of what they want to see happen.

“While we do believe that Jim Gallogly’s resignation was a necessary event in the interest of the health of the diverse body of students, faculty and staff at the University of Oklahoma, we remain concerned that the regents are yet unresolved to do the right thing and turn over all evidence to law enforcement regarding misconduct by David Boren and Tripp Hall during their tenure,” Sara Bana, spokesperson for the accusers, said in a statement.

Bana said the university must also “clean out the remaining corrupt,” conduct a search for the new president that is transparent and includes “all university stakeholders,” and create an “ability to hold the OU Board of Regents accountable in performing their official duties ethically, responsibly and legally.”