February 27, 2020
In a university setting, and especially at OU, input is not just welcome and appreciated, it is necessary. But decisions are not made in a vacuum and they are not made in response to ultimatums. Recommendations received are considered carefully, and if in line with the strategic direction of the university, are brought by the president to the Board of Regents for review and approval. I have done this and will continue to.
I cannot engage the demand for the immediate resignation of the Provost. I listened to BERT’s concerns and will always listen to concerns from our students. However, I told them I could not meet this demand. My reasons are based on principle, fairness, and precedent. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss personnel evaluations of employees in this public manner. We can never allow our desire for expediency to deter us from being fair in our evaluations.
I am confident in Provost Harper’s abilities and willingness to work constructively to advance the university. What many do not know is that nearly a year ago Provost Harper requested to return to the faculty. Even as provost, he is a distinguished scholar and teacher. I personally asked him to continue to serve through an important period of transition and to help us complete and launch the strategic plan. He put his personal pursuits on hold to serve his alma mater. There is no doubt that he loves our university and serves it tirelessly.
OU is a special place we all care deeply about. It’s at the university that we learn and grow, both individually and as a society. I look forward to working with our entire university community to make OU a place of true belonging.
Joseph Harroz, Jr.