In The Know: Colleges lose major donors after oil collapse

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Oil collapse gives colleges a test on backpedaling donors: The latest bust and tumbling crude prices are now pinching off the largesse that helps universities in oil-rich states afford what they want when state budgets are straitened. The University of Oklahoma has scaled back a planned $370 million renovation to its football stadium. Tuition hikes are back on the table at Texas universities. At Louisiana State University, energy sector gifts have fallen from a quarter of all fundraising to a tenth, which is being felt as the school tries to offer students a new minor in energy [Associated Press].

Chesapeake Energy hit with $2.1 million fine for underpaying royalties on Indian leases: The $2.1 million fine against Chesapeake Energy announced this week by the U.S. Department of Interior wasn’t the first such fine for under reporting natural gas produced on Indian leases in Oklahoma. The Department’s Natural Resources Revenue Office in Denver said the civil penalty against the Oklahoma City-based energy firm was for failure to meet an October 2011 order requiring a review of the amounts reported for more than 100 leases [OK Energy Today].

New study on historical shaking suggests a century of oil and gas earthquakes in Oklahoma: The findings, published today in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, link many historical Oklahoma earthquakes presumed to be natural in origin to oil and gas operations where wastewater and other fluids were pumped underground — a phenomenon known as induced seismicity. The data suggest two high-profile Oklahoma earthquakes in the 1950s likely were induced: the 5.7-magnitude El Reno temblor that toppled chimneys and smokestacks and left a 50-foot crack in the state Capitol in 1952, and a 3.9-magnitude quake that shook Tulsa County in 1956 [State Impact Oklahoma].

OU President David Boren-led organization to file paperwork for penny tax: Representatives from “Oklahoma’s Children, Our Future,” an organization headed by OU President David Boren, are filing an initiative petition tomorrow with Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge. The initiative will raise the state sales tax by one cent on the dollar to raise $615 million in one year for Oklahoma education. If the petition receives enough signatures, Oklahomans will be able to vote on the initiative in the November 2016 general election [OU Daily].

State Superintendent: ‘We are absolutely in a crisis’: Even in the face of funding uncertainty and a record-teacher shortage, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister expressed optimism about the future of education Tuesday afternoon at the education Fall Forum. A $5,000 salary increase is her best-case scenario. In the wake of a projected $1 billion-budget shortfall next year, she said she’ll take what she can get, but there has to be something to “give teachers hope” [Norman Transcript].

One child left at OKC metro DHS shelter, hopes to find a foster family: Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services is closing its emergency children’s shelter in Oklahoma City and has managed to find foster homes for all but one child. The 7-year-old boy still lives at the shelter, but he is the only child roaming the halls and his is the only bed. DHS is keeping the doors to the shelter open until they find Michael a foster family [News9].

Amid execution probe, Oklahoma officials appear at AG office: Senior officials with Oklahoma’s prison system and governor’s office appeared Tuesday at the attorney general’s office, where a multicounty grand jury is investigating problems with the state’s recent executions. Gov. Mary Fallin’s general counsel, Steve Mullins, arrived Tuesday afternoon and said he was cooperating with Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s investigation but declined to comment further. All executions in Oklahoma have been put on hold while Pruitt investigates how a drug mix-up occurred during the past two scheduled lethal injections in Oklahoma [Journal Record].

Oklahoma Supreme Court censures two fired prosecutors: A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday publicly censured two Oklahoma County prosecutors who were fired for failing to disclose a contradictory statement by a witness about a fatal stabbing. Justices split 5-4 on the discipline for Stephanie Bradley Miller and Pamela Jean Kimbrough for engaging in conduct involving dishonesty or misrepresentation. The majority chose public censures while the dissenting justices wanted both suspended from the practice of law for six months [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“I think the state thought, ‘If we just pass all these things, we’re going to reform education.’ Well, reform doesn’t happen just because you pass a law or adopt a policy. It happens when you do something at the right pace where people can be a part of it and give input and make it something that works … Sometimes I think we pass things before we even know what they are. And that’s not the way. That’s a way to waste money.”

-State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister (Source)

Number of the Day


Road fatalities in Oklahoma per 100,000 people, the 6th highest rate in the U.S.

Source: City Lab

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The New Housing Segregation in America: In recent years, studies have suggested that American cities are more integrated and diverse than they were a generation ago. Researcher Daniel Lichter doesn’t agree. “We’re still a highly segregated society,” says Lichter, a sociologist at Cornell University. Lichter’s got data to back up his point: He and two colleagues from Mississippi State University recently analyzed population shifts as recorded in United States Censuses since 1990 [Pacific Standard].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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