Dr. Geoffrey Orsak, the University of Tulsa president, that was abruptly fired this week has now issued a statement to students:
"My family and I made significant professional and personal sacrifices when we uprooted from Dallas, so that I would have the special opportunity to lead the University of Tulsa. I am very disappointed given the lengthy due diligence process for the position, that within such a short period of time, the board has decided to go in a different direction."
The University of Tulsa campus was buzzing Thursday, a day after the school president was fired. Geoffrey Orsak was just 74 days into his job, and was fired one day after he was granted a leave of absence because of family issues.
The university has not said why Orsak was fired. A TU spokeswoman said the school will not comment on personnel issues.
But students on campus Thursday said they deserved some answers.
Lee Bailey is in his senior year at TU and got to know Dr. Orsak during student orientation. Based on first impressions, he really liked Orsak.
"Very ambitious, very disciplined guy," Bailey said. "So, I guess with not knowing a lot of information, there definitely is a lot of confusion of, like, what's going on behind the scenes."
Bailey said news of the firing was a big shock to students and alumni.
"It's hard to see that... I guess the guy I knew for 70 days would have done something so controversial that it would have led to something," Bailey said.
Like everyone affiliated with the university, Bailey was dying to know what really happened, but wasn't ready to feed into the speculation circulating online.
"I've heard ridiculous rumors," he said.
So had Nick Coyle, also in his senior year at TU.
"I've heard a few rumors, but I don't put any stock in them," Coyle said. "I'm not going to pay attention to them until I hear the real story."
The problem is Coyle doesn't know if or when he might get the real story.
"I believe that it is an upstanding institution," Coyle said. "But whenever something like this happens so suddenly without any explanation, then questions are raised, and it's really cause for concern."
His concern was that a scandal could be brewing.
Meanwhile, Bailey was trying to stay optimistic that the university was just taking its time and being tactful in handling the situation.
"I'm hoping that we do get more information, but that this is just a time where they're trying to work out the kinks so that no one gets burnt in the long run," Bailey said.
The chairman of the board of trustees for the University of Tulsa has released a statement about the recent firing of the University of Tulsa president, Dr. Geoffrey Orsak.
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.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
TU officials announced Orsak's termination on Wednesday, no reason for his dismissal was given. Orsak was named president of the university in May of 2012. He replaced Steadman Upham on July 1st, 2012. Prior to that, Orsak was the Dean of Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.