University of Tulsa Administration Sells School to Businessman


“[The plan] eliminated undergraduate majors in both philosophy and religion, leaving us with only a combined minor. The possibility of a combined major was recently dangled before my department chair—the price being that I cease from publicly criticizing our administrative overlords.”

So writes Jacob Howland, professor of philosophy at the University of Tulsa (TU), about attempts by the school’s administration to silence criticism of its restructuring plan (previously here and here), in an article at The Nation.

In the article, Howland explains how Tulsa businessman George Kaiser “took control of TU”. Howland follows the money, tracing the  entanglements of TU administrators like president Gerry Clancy and provost Janet Levit, and businesses Kaiser is heavily involved with, to explain how and why the university is restructuring itself “to serve Kaiser’s interests.”

He also details the secrecy, manipulation, and rule-breaking characterizing the administration’s behavior in devising the restructuring plan.

He writes:

Kaiser has effectively gotten his hands on a billion dollars that does not belong to him—money that the Chapman family donated specifically to support liberal education at the premiere private university in Oklahoma and the wider region—and figured out a way to spend it on the things he wants. No one who has followed his behavior in the past should be surprised by any of this, or by the blatant conflicts of interest between Levit, Clancy, Dorwart [chair of TU’s board of trustees], and the TU board, on the one hand, and BOK [the Bank of Oklahoma’s parent company, which Kaiser own the majority of share in] and GKFF [the George Kaiser Family Foundation] on the other.

One wonders if TU’s accreditation organization, Higher Learning Commission, is paying attention.

You can read Howland’s whole article here.

(via Daniel Brunson and Mark Silcox)


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