How ‘Progressive’ Leadership Wrecked a University

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Tulsa University used to be regarded as an excellent regional university. But about three years ago, a new administration brought in a host of left-wing ideas for improving it. The opposite has happened. But the administration has tried to silence those who point this out, as leftists often do to dissidents.

One of those dissidents is professor Jacob Howland. In today’s Martin Center article, he writes about the continuing turmoil at his school. He describes the “venomous counterattack” by the administration against faculty and students who dared to criticize the curricular changes that downgraded traditional humanities courses in favor of more diversity and occupational training.

As you might suppose, Tulsa’s new wokeness has not impressed the financial markets. Howland writes:

Just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse, in late December, Moody’s downgraded $85 million in TU bonds two steps to Baa3 (just above junk) with a negative outlook, in large part because TU’s net tuition revenue declined 24 percent from 2015 to 2019. The administration subsequently informed us that we would now be entering a period of “austerity,” as $14 million to $20 million would have to be cut from the operating budget over the next two years.

Many Tulsa students are unhappy with the direction the administration is taking the university, but their voices are ignored.

The real power behind Tulsa’s transformation, Howland notes, is a leftist billionaire in Oklahoma with big ideas for using the university to help change the region.  He acidly observes: “This is what happens when know-nothing corporatists impose a ‘progressive’ vision on a proud, once-flourishing university.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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