Politicians versus the University of Oklahoma:  Egos, Ethics and Education. Can This Troubled Marriage Be Saved

Presenter: Cal Hobson

Class Dates: Thursdays,  Thursdays, June 6 – 27

Class Time: 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Pkwy, Kairos Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: 

Honestly I don't know.  On the one hand lawmakers laud the importance of earning a college degree or degrees especially when discussing the future of their own children or grandchildren.  On the other hand they have gleefully cut funding for our 27 institutes of learning deeper over the last eight years than experienced in any other state - about 24%.  When former OU President David Boren led the charge to reverse that trend by promoting a sales tax increase it was soundly rejected by voters in 2016 and then followed by even more draconian reductions in state support.  Shortly afterwards Boren announced his retirement which was effective July 1st of 2018.    

That very public flap was but the most recent example in a long standing war of enormous egos wrestling for dominance in Oklahoma's system of higher education.   For example OU's very first President, David Ross Boyd, who assumed his perch three years after the Land Run of 1889, was fired by Governor Charles N Haskell in 1908 ending his distinguished service of sixteen years on the campus in Norman.  The reason given, and I quote "Boyd was an aristocrat; not democratic enough".  For good measure Harvard educated, future Pulitzer Prize winner and  founder of the English Department Dr Vernon Louis Parrington, and many others,  also received their pink slips simultaneously with Boyd's.    

Therefore, from late in the nineteenth century to early in the twenty first,  one of the great soap operas within our state has been the often contentious, rarely congenial but always interesting relationships between politicians and presidents, donors and deans, the students and  their stewards.  Whether it is setting tuition rates, football schedules, class content or just about anything else everybody and sometimes nobody seems to be in charge.

In keeping with our subject matter join me, Cal Hobson, for a rollicking, rowdy and simmering summer class.  We will study the players, their schemes and resultant shenanigans surrounding the 127 year record of hijinks  and histrionics between our flagship university and the often flagging but always meddling and muddling political factions running, and sometimes ruining, our system of higher education.

As an additional inducement for you to enroll OLLI is happy to announce that OU Professor Emeritus of History Dr. Davy Levy will be just one of our outstanding speakers during this course.   

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Addicted Oklahoma. Honestly, We All Know It is Painfully True

Presenter: Cal Hobson  

Class Dates: Thursdays, July 11 – August 8* 

*NOTE: Class will not meet on July 25

Class Time: 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Parkway, Kairos Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: Don't worry.  This seminar will NOT be about judging individuals, except maybe me, but more focused on the worrisome, wacky and sometimes killer behaviors prevalent in Oklahoma.  

Examples abound that expose our bad habits.  Drug and alcohol consumption rank high nationally as well as the number of teenagers smoking, dipping and chewing tobacco.  Opioid abuse is so rampant Attorney General Mike Hunter filed suit against pharmaceutical companies right here at the Cleveland County Courthouse charging, among other things, they purposely put profit ahead of public safety.   Experts, and we will hear from many, say these legal and illegal products are at the source of soaring rates of cancer, diabetes and other life shortening diseases.  Additionally violent and non-violent crimes are natural bi-products of such usage and contribute greatly to our world leading incarceration rates of both men and women.  And tragically suicide among our young is so common it no longer is viewed exclusively through the lens of abject shock and disbelief.  

Less dramatic, but of serious consequence,  in many homes a couch is the most used piece of furniture and a comfortable, swivel chair positioned just opposite from a flashing, blinking and seductive slot machine is frequented by thousands daily when venturing outside their residences.  In other words we don't get much exercise except with our eyes.

Also, if it is true you are what you eat, most of us are not water, bone and blood but burgers, pizza and a delicacy from France called fries.  

So what may be gleaned about our situation in the upcoming summer seminar together?  I propose we hear from health and mental health experts, exercise gurus, people representing our generation who manage to control not only their weight but maintain positive, optimistic attitudes toward life and, perhaps most importantly, from other Oklahomans who have confronted, and defeated, their addictions.   

As an additional inducement for you to enroll OLLI is happy to announce that Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter will be just one of our outstanding speakers during this course.   

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