Oklahoma Legislator May Probe Universities, Nonprofits

By Packham, Jeff | THE JOURNAL RECORD, November 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Oklahoma Legislator May Probe Universities, Nonprofits


Packham, Jeff, THE JOURNAL RECORD


A decision by the Oklahoma State University governing board to waive policies regarding competitive bidding has an Oklahoma legislator looking for ways to provide more transparency when it comes to affiliations between universities and nonprofit organizations.

State Rep. Terry Hyman, D-Leon, was joined by other members of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education Thursday to question higher education officials about the relationships between universities and foundations that fund many of the operations that take place on campus grounds.

Dr. David Bosserman, vice president for administration and finance, explained that all purchases by university officials were either made through purchase cards called P-cards or were approved by the university or the governing board.

Hyman focused his attention on the relationship between the university and the entity that received the concessions contract, Sodexho.

Bosserman explained that Sodexho had initially contracted out with private businesses but that athletic director Mike Holder wanted to be able to have more direct contact with boosters and donors sitting in the suites and club-level seats.

A nonprofit was created instead to receive those contracts for the higher-level seating areas. That foundation was called Cowboy Athletics Inc., and Holder served as the president. Bosserman said the nonprofit was approved by the governing board before it had been administratively been created and that the policy requiring competitive bidding was waived to allow for the change.

Hyman said he didn't want to accuse the board or university of "circumventing the competitive bid process" but there was certainly something not quite right about how the situation worked.

"It makes you wonder," Hyman said.

Other university officials talked about what took place at their schools, including representatives of the University of Oklahoma, University of Central Oklahoma, and Rose State College. …

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