Archive for the ‘OSU’ Category

OSU Employee Phone Policy Violates Open Records Law, Experts Say

April 17, 2008

Hargis uses his private BlackBerry to conduct university business, but he says the related text messages, e-mails and numbers dialed are not records open to the public.

However, advocates for government openness, along with a judge and attorneys general in other states, say records of public business should be open, regardless of whether the device that the created the record is privately owned.

Hargis said he elected not to receive reimbursement for his cell phone though his job requires him to be available 24 hours a day, making him eligible for a university-financed phone. Thus, records of his cell phone are not open to the public, university attorneys say.

Hargis’ phone is not the only cellular device outside of the scope of public inspection, according to OSU policy. The same holds true for the 493 employee cell phones on record at the human resource department, as well as an unknown number of other employee phones not documented at that office. Read more…

Legislative Leaders Praise Plan for OSU-Tulsa Degrees

April 8, 2008

Sen. James Williamson (R-Tulsa) and House Speaker Chris Benge today praised the efforts of OSU-Tulsa to bring additional degree programs to its curriculum:

The OSU-Tulsa Board of Trustees and the A & M Board of Regents are fulfilling a promise they made to the state when OSU-Tulsa was created: that they would do everything they could to bring a comprehensive research university to Tulsa. For many years the Tulsa area did not have publicly supported comprehensive higher education. OSU made a commitment to us to provide the extensive course offerings to fill the need our constituents told us existed…I am excited and pleased that all of our effort is finally coming to fruition,” Williamson added.

Speaker Benge (R-Tulsa) echoed Williamson’s comments:

Ten years ago the Legislature created OSU-Tulsa to become a public comprehensive research university to serve our area. That goal can only be accomplished by offering the degree programs students need and want. By offering these programs, OSU-Tulsa is doing precisely what we asked them to do.

Benge, who recently obtained his degree in Business, said that it would have been more difficult to obtain his degree without the OSU-Tulsa option:

I wanted a degree from a comprehensive university. Had my only alternative been to drive to Norman or Stillwater I could never have completed my degree. There are so many students who find themselves in similar situations.

Williamson, who is a graduate of the University of Tulsa said,

I really don’t have a personal loyalty issue with any of our fine schools. The simple truth is that OSU, under the leadership of then-President Halligan, stepped up and made the commitment I wanted for my constituents and for the Tulsa area business community. Under President Gary Trennephol’s guidance, OSU-Tulsa has prospered and thrived. He and his Board will take OSU-Tulsa to the level we all envisioned.

The OSU-Tulsa plan would bring full degree programs in English, history, sociology, geology, psychology, geological sciences with premedical and preveterinary options, math, physics, chemistry, physical education, certain specialties in secondary education, accounting economics, hotel and restaurant administration and civil engineering.

V. Burns Hargis, OSU’s New President Today, $350K Salary

March 10, 2008

PhotobucketFormer board member V. Burns Hargis recently was successful in changing Oklahoma law to accomodate the desires of Oklahoma State University, so that he could start to work in March 2008 rather than July 2008.

Previous law, as Burns Hargis said, was in place to keep Boards from hiring themselves.

KSWO in Lawton writes:

Hargis will earn $350,000 plus a $20,000 automobile allowance each year under the contract approved Friday.

Hargis calls his new job both exciting and daunting, and says his first task will be to get acquainted with students, faculty and staff.

The Tulsa World explains that the contract is a three-year contract, and:

Regent Doug Burns said discussions are ongoing about a supplemental retirement plan for Hargis and that decision will be made by the board.

Hargis, who was hired for OSU from his job as vice chairman of the Bank of Oklahoma, said the salary is “plenty — it’s a very nice package.”

Regent Burns said, “After looking at what we’ve paid in the past, what’s paid throughout the Big 12 and after negotiation on the subject matter, this is a figure that both sides (the board and Hargis) deemed reasonable.”

V. Burns Hargis: "The purpose of the law is so that boards don’t hire themselves."

February 29, 2008

V. Burns Hargis and his supporters have been successful in changing Oklahoma law to facilitate expediency at Oklahoma State University. V. Burns Hargis was officially hired as the new president of OSU in December, but because he’d served as a regent at the school until he resigned to run for the office of president of the school, he had to wait a year from his board resignation date to begin serving as president.

New Oklahoma requirements, signed into law yesterday by Brad Henry shorten the wait time to six months, allowing Burns Hargis to start immediately, rather than waiting until July. Regarding the change in the law, Burns Hargis told the Oklahoman he thought the spirit of the law has been preserved:

…but I think it’s been made more practical. The purpose of the law is so that boards don’t hire themselves. reports that one of Burns Hargis’ “first priorities will be increasing private investment in the school in Stillwater.”

The Oklahoman also reports that one of Hargis’ “first duties will be spending time at the state Capitol talking with legislators,

‘…Because the majority of the money that OSU has to operate on, as well as any other higher institution, is state money. Obviously what happens here at the Capitol the next three months or so is critical to next year’s budget.’

“He also wants to beef up private donations, he said, as the state’s share of the university’s budget has decreased in recent years.”

Burns Hargis May Not Wait until July

February 18, 2008

Updated 2/19/08.

House Bill 2297 would allow V. Burns Hargis to get to work right away instead of waiting until July. NewsOK reports:

State law prohibits a higher education regent from becoming president of an institution until the person has been off the board for a year. That means Hargis is unable to start as OSU president until July.

A committee amendment to House Bill 2297 reduces to six months the time a former regent hired by a university of college would have to wait to start employment.

The Daily O’Collegian reports that Benge, who sponsored the bill is enthusiastic:

House Speaker Chris Benge sponsored the amendment.

Benge, R-Tulsa, said if the committee’s response to the amendment is indicative of the House’s, the bill should pass easily.

“OSU has been without a president for so long that we feel like it’s important to get someone on board,” Benge said. “The president-elect, I know, is ready. We’re just trying to get him on board as soon as possible.”

His affiliation with one of the state’s major universities is helpful to one of Burns Hargis’ important projects, the participation in a world-wide endeavor known locally as the Oklahoma Creativity Project. Here is Burns Hargis discussing the project with The Oklahoman’s Ed Kelly:

V. Burns Hargis: A Cowboy for the World

February 12, 2008

From OSU:

PhotobucketOn December 4, 2007, the nine-member OSU/A&M Board of Regents voted unanimously to select Oklahoma civic and business leader V. Burns Hargis as the 18th President of Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the more than 32,000-student OSU system…

Hargis graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting in 1967 and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma Law School in 1970. He was a candidate for the Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma in 1990. For the past 10 years, he has served as Vice Chairman of Bank of Oklahoma. He practiced law for 28 years and is recognized in the publications “Who’s Who in American Law” and “The Best Lawyers in America.” He also served as Chair of the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services. He is a former member of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents and a former member of the Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The OSU/A&M Board of Regents is the governing board for OSU in Stillwater and the OSU System which includes the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences in Stillwater, OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa, OSU-Tulsa, OSU-Oklahoma City, OSU-Okmulgee, the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Experiment Station, as well as Langston University in Langston, Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami.

Jenny Redden of the Daily O’Collegian, points out that Burns Hargis is OSU president without a Ph.D. in more than 80 years:

The OSU regents say they found Mr. Right in businessman Burns Hargis.

But his appointment as the next university president signals the end of a time when the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents would have settled for nothing less than Dr. Right.

Hargis will be OSU’s 18th president and the first since the 1920s without a Ph.D. when he starts in July.

The change may be the product of a national trend that shows states are providing less financing for public universities, many have said. (more)

Burns Hargis is being honored in April by the Oklahoma chapter of the Arthritis Foundation for, “commitment to the community and support of the state chapter’s mission to be a leader in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis,” according to

Boone Pickens has touted him as OSU’s David Boren, and is a prominent volunteer for the United Way.

As the chairman of the Oklahoma Creativity Project a world-wide effort, he has said:

The state of Oklahoma is on the forefront of a national movement to promote the development of creativity and innovation…By consciously working to celebrate and encourage innovation in commerce, education and culture, we will secure continued prosperity for all Oklahomans.