Breea Clark, the universitys associate director of academic integrity, has served on Norman City Council for over a year, but that position does not require party affiliation. When Clark prepared for a State House of Representatives run, her supervisors said she couldnt stay with the university if she pursed the house seat.
Citing a Board of Regents policy dating back to 1943, Clark was told she had to offer her resignation before declaring candidacy. By comparison, the University of Missouri and University of Nebraska-Lincoln grant a leave of absence to employees during their candidacy, only requiring a resignation if the employee wins the election.
OUs press secretary told OU Daily the university avoids conflicts of interest and while state law does not prohibit state employees from running for public office, theyre sticking to principles outlined in state ethics policies.
There is a faculty committee investigating the policy. There has been no ruling since it first convened in November, but its agenda said the committee will consider a leave of absence for employees.
I just find it really discouraging ... that thousands of people arent even able to consider running for a county, state or federal office it seems almost anti-democratic, Clark told OU Daily.
Chicken-Fried News has a similar policy, but it exists so staffers dont have to report on colleagues when they try to mandate a redhead quota in state government.