In an email to Dean Larry Grillot, Dean of the College of Earth and Energy at the University of Oklahoma, dated July 16, 2014, 3:27 p.m., Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, wrote the following in reference to a search for a new director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey: “I strongly feel that your search committee should include a representative from the oil and gas industry. I would be very interested and willing to sit on your search committee.” See full email here.
In an email to Danny Hilliard and to Catherine Bishop dated July 16, 2014, 6:46 p.m., Dean Grillot wrote the following about his meeting with Mr. Hamm earlier that day: “Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed.” See full email here.
Earlier this week, Catherine Bishop, the university’s vice president of public affairs (who saw both of the emails referenced above) told Bloomberg News the following: “Mr. Hamm absolutely did not ask to be on the search committee or to have anyone from Continental put onto the committee, nor did he ask that anyone from the Oklahoma Geological Survey be dismissed.”
This sounds like some major parsing of words here. It is kind of like talking about what the definition of “is” is. Dean Grillot understood from his meeting with Hamm that he wanted some OGS staff dismissed, and it is clear from Hamm’s own words that he wanted to be on that search committee. I guess since perhaps Hamm did not put either comment in the form of a question, the University of Oklahoma feels it can say that Mr. Hamm “did not ask” either of these things, but that is not really being honest, now is it?
This is not how a university models integrity for its students.
David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma, has served as a paid member of the Board of Directors of Continental Resources since 2009 receiving both direct compensation and stocks from the company. He has received nearly $1 million for serving in that role since 2009, including $272,000 in 2013 according to a report from OETA.
For a full report on Hamm’s interaction with Dean Grillot about OGS staff and his interest in being on the OGS Director search committee, see the report in Bloomberg Business.