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A Message from President Harroz – Governor’s Executive Order 2023-31

University Seal, The University of Oklahoma, Office of the President
December 13, 2023

Dear OU Community,

Today, Oklahoma’s governor signed an executive order eliminating offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at all public higher education institutions in Oklahoma, including our own.

For many of us, this news evokes deep concern and uncertainty about the future, and in many ways feels like a step backward. Please be assured that key to our ongoing successes as the state’s flagship university – now and forever – are the foundational values that have served as our constant north star: access and opportunity for all of those with the talent and tenacity to succeed; being a place of belonging for all who attend; dedication to free speech and inquiry; and civility in our treatment of each other.

These values transcend political ideology, and in them, we are unwavering.

Though we are obligated to comply with the governor’s executive order, we will remain committed to ensuring an education from the University of Oklahoma remains accessible and available to all, and we will continue to work to recruit and retain a workforce of talented and qualified minds that is representative of our state. In the coming weeks, we will issue further guidance on our compliance with this mandate while staying true to our values.

I urge our community to not let today’s development overshadow the monumental advancements we’ve made in uplifting Oklahoma as a more prosperous place for all. While many universities across the country are struggling, OU is flourishing. Our campuses are seeing unprecedented enrollment growth, we are championing our state’s economic development by bringing to market new research and technologies discovered by our esteemed faculty, and we are enriching the vibrant culture of our state through the arts and humanities, profoundly impacting the lives of every single Oklahoman.

Make no mistake: At OU, we stand firm in our promise to uphold the core principles that make our university a beacon where the American Dream is available to all. We know, too, that our students, university community, and the citizens of Oklahoma are resolute in their commitment to these values. Together, we will continue forward with care, intention, and an unyielding dedication to the principles that have always defined us. Together, we deserve nothing less.

Live On, University,

Joseph Harroz, Jr.