March 17, 2009

OU: Pay No Attention to That Article on Our Website

Thought experiment. The head of the OU College Republicans drafts a press release saying, "The University of Oklahoma will join hundreds of institutions from across the country in celebrating 'National Teach-In for Economic Freedom' to show the President and the Congress that people are ready to enact a bold economic policy that prioritizes income-tax cuts, spending reductions, and a rollback of harmful environmental regulations." The College Republicans take this press release to Catherine Bishop, OU's vice president of public affairs, and ask her to post it on the OU website. Would she do it?

To ask the question is to answer it.

Not only would OU refuse to post it, they would remind the OU College Republicans in no uncertain terms that no mere student group is allowed to speak for "the University of Oklahoma."

And yet, on February 3 OU posted on its website -- at www.ou.edu/web/landing/Articles.html, to be precise -- an article which led with this sentence: "The University of Oklahoma will join hundreds of institutions from across the country for the 'National Teach-In for Global Warming Solutions' to show the President and Congress that people are ready to pass a bold climate and energy policy that prioritizes renewable energy, green job creation, and an aggressive cap on carbon emissions."

"Great moments in fundraising," I chuckled to myself as I read about OU's fondness for "an aggressive cap on carbon emissions." And I included the article's opening sentence in OCPA's monthly periodical under the wry headline "OU Lobbying for Anti-Petroleum Legislation."

Well, apparently that didn't sit well with David Boren, because today in The Oklahoman President Boren trots out a few crimson herrings about his pro-petroleum voting record in the U.S. Senate and insists that, notwithstanding the article on the OU website, OU isn't lobbying against the petroleum industry. As Randy Ellis reports (‘University of Oklahoma President David Boren defends university as friendly to energy’), "Catherine Bishop, OU's vice president of public affairs, said the article didn't represent an official position of the university. ... A student group called OUr Earth organized and led the event, university officials said."

Did you catch that? An article which says “the University of Oklahoma will ... show the President and the Congress" -- and which is posted on the university's website -- doesn't represent an official position of the university.

See why PR people get paid the big money?

Look, it's no secret there's a left-wing bias at OU. I'm under no illusion that I can change it, but as a taxpayer and an OU graduate the least I can do is point it out.

Ten years ago, an enterprising student went to the Cleveland County Election Board and checked the voter registrations of OU professors in 19 departments (mostly in Arts and Sciences: economics, history, political science, etc.). He discovered 208 Democrats and 36 Republicans.

Last year, 93 percent of all political contributions from OU employees went to Democrats. And of course David Boren himself, citing Barack Obama’s "sound and good judgment," endorsed Obama for president. (Congressman Dan Boren, by contrast, dubbed Obama "the most liberal senator" in Congress and declined to endorse him.)

Public opinion surveys in this state consistently show that somewhere in the vicinity of 18 percent of Oklahomans describe themselves as somewhat or strongly liberal, while 67 percent call themselves somewhat or strongly conservative. Again, I can’t stop OU from sticking a finger in the eye of all these Oklahomans who are paying the freight. But at least I can shine a light on it.

I can inform taxpayers (and state legislators) of Darwinian propaganda festivals and OU professors who support unrepentant terrorists. Taxpayers and legislators deserve to know about academic programs devoted to the promotion of feminism and about the distribution of condoms at performances of "The Vagina Monologues." They deserve to know about scholarly articles entitled "Towards Queering Food Studies: Foodways, Heteronormativity, and Hungry Women in Chicana Lesbian Writing."

And they deserve to know when OU is lobbying for anti-petroleum legislation.