Dear OUR: told you so in ‘88

From Tulsa Today:


By David Arnett, Publisher

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Editorial: In the June 17, 1988, issue of the Independent Student News, students at Tulsa’s Oral Roberts University voiced concerns about the financial standing, administrative competence, and righteousness of leadership in administration of the school. It was the first of many articles and a long effort to defend the voices of the students.

If it was a battle, the students lost; those who fought are long gone to more productive daily struggles. Oral and Richard Roberts always got their way. They abused everyone to accomplish whatever ego-driven mission they had in mind – not once, but repeatedly. Sunday, the Tulsa daily newspaper headlined, “ORU alumni support sought,” but should anyone rally to save the school? Been there, tried that – when many of us were students.

In the 1988 piece, students defended professors, writing, “The average salary for a professor at ORU is approximately $18,000, compared to the national average of $35,000.” They listed the desperate public calls for money from the Robertses, including, but not limited to: 1985 – $15 million to construct a healing center, 1986 – $8 million to “save” Oral’s life and send medical missionaries to the world, 1987 – $2.5 million to “adopt-a-student” – and yet no student ever got a check.”

This cartoon of Oral and Richard by a local artist was first published by the Tulsa Independent News April 19, 1989.

Where was the money going, they asked? Students answered their own question by listing the private jet, the $500,000 parsonage, the Palm Springs home, the Beverly Hills home, the country club memberships, the luxury apartments atop the City of Faith, and Oral’s own $94,000 tax-free salary. They asked, “If there is so much money floating around at ORU, why do professors have to sell their homes, have their utilities shut off, pull their children out of college, and literally starve to death, while ORU’s fearless leader sits atop his golden tower?”

Students at the time also tried to work within the system to help their professors, but the administration refused to allow the student senate to collect an offering for struggling faculty members at chapel. The administration offered to “give professors a one-time pay raise (of 6 percent) if they collect up to 70 percent of student delinquent accounts”… and sign an employment contract without knowing what benefits they were to receive. Read more…

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