A 'Transformative Leader' in Norman?

When OU regents chairman Clay Bennett announced the selection of a new university president this year, he said: “Jim Gallogly is a world-class, in-demand, transformative leader.” Will President Gallogly be that sort of leader in Norman? In an article today for the James G. Marin Center, I suggest that the early signs are promising. And over at National Review Online, George Leef suggests that "other colleges and universities should consider efficiency-minded business execs if they want to cut the fat out of their operations."

Once President Gallogly gets OU's fiscal house in order, one hopes he will turn his attention to something equally (if not more) important: the PC foolishness on campus. After all, as political scientist Greg Forster observed, "if OU doesn’t uphold the basic principle of liberal education, it undermines our political freedom and is the opposite of a public good."

Many Oklahomans are fed up with political correctness, which is one reason Donald Trump won 77 of 77 counties here. OU's previous president, David Boren, is a lifelong Democrat who had publicly endorsed Barack Obama (a man who twice managed to win zero of Oklahoma’s 77 counties). During his OU presidency, Boren evinced a troubling illiberal streak. For example, he introduced mandatory “diversity training” for new students, covering things like sexual identity, unconscious bias, and privilege. OU’s training is “a horrifying recital of coercive tactics,” Forster observed, “clearly designed not to educate students about diversity (which would be valuable) so much as to manipulate, threaten, and control them so they don’t think the wrong things.”

Boren also declared that instances of “hate speech” should be reported to the OU police department. That’s problematic enough, but even more so when one considers that at a campus protest of Donald Trump one of Boren’s lieutenants implied that supporting Trump is synonymous with hate.

After OU broke the law to avoid bad publicity in 2015, the school landed on the “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” list compiled by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. And in 2017 Boren ran off a regent who had the temerity to articulate a viewpoint that, as one OU alumnus put it, “has been traditionally embraced for 2,000 years by Christians of virtually all branches.”

So even as Gallogly is addressing OU's budget and management challenges, it remains to be seen if he, like Mitch Daniels, will also be a champion for free speech. If he is—and as it happens, he’s presently confronted with a problem in which the OU law school has demonstrated intolerance and anti-religious bigotry—he may turn out to be a truly transformative leader indeed.

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