The University of Tulsa confirms to Channel 8 that it is preparing to make a statement about the firing of former TU President, Geoffrey Orsak. The university fired Orsak after 74 days.
Channel 8 caught up with students and Tulsa residents at Burn BBQ across from TU's campus Thursday. Those we spoke to said they can only speculate about the circumstances of Orsak's sudden firing. He had been granted a leave of absence to be with his ill father Tuesday.
"I think they should let people know," said Tulsa resident Joe Deere. "I mean TU's a local school. It's a big deal here, and they need to let everybody know what's going on regardless."
Rumors are circulating around the community about why Orsak was fired. One student Channel 8 spoke with said the lack of information from the university is only fueling the gossip.
"We kind of laugh that because there's no information at all about it, that it'd be the kind of thing that would happen," said student Todd Goddard. "There would be a lot of really, really wild rumors that would blow it way out of proportion."
Channel 8 received a statement from SMU, where Orsak was formerly the dean of the engineering school. It reads, "We at SMU wish the best for Geoffrey Orsak and his family during this time of transition. He is a talented individual who will have many opportunities in the next phase of his career."
TU said it plans to make a statement for the sake of students and their parents in the next few days.
The University sent Channel 8 this email shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday.
Dear TU Family and Friends,
The news of the university's decision to release Dr. Geoffrey Orsak from his duties as president has occasioned intense interest and many questions from members of the TU family and the general public. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to tell you as much as I am permitted and to assure you that The University of Tulsa has the governance and administration in place to ensure a smooth course forward.
As already announced, the board has authorized Executive Vice President Kevan Buck to handle the day-to-day administrative affairs of the university. Kevan has a wealth of experience overseeing the university's business functions and core operating units. We are moving forward with business as usual and foresee no problems with our interim arrangement.
The board is discussing next steps as we work toward identifying TU's 19th president. We will keep you informed as this process moves forward.
Discretion and university policy dictate that I not discuss the specific circumstances surrounding the decision, except to underscore my confidence in the collective wisdom of The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees. Our board comprises some of the most experienced leaders of our community, who have successfully managed through a wide range of challenges. I appreciate and applaud the serious and thoughtful insight that each trustee brought to these deliberations, and I am confident that the board reached the conclusion that best serves our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and many partners.
Although unavoidable, the timing of this decision was particularly unfortunate, given the additional challenges that the Orsak family faces with the care of Dr. Orsak's ailing father. We wish all of them well during this difficult time and in their future endeavors.
We recognize the public's significant interest in this development, but in accordance with our personnel policies and status as a private institution, we will not discuss the details behind the board's decision.
Finally, on behalf of the board, I thank each of you for the part you play in the success of The University of Tulsa. Our shared dedication to the power of learning and the duty of service will continue to keep us moving forward.