The Oklahoma Senate Education Committee voted against Gov. Kevin Stitt's nomination of a Tulsa attorney to the Eastern Oklahoma State College Board of Regents.
Committee members voted 8-5 Tuesday against the nomination of Cheryl Baber, a Tulsa attorney and former Republican House candidate. EOSC President Dr. Stephen Smith attended the meeting and told the News-Capital he was somewhat surprised the nomination fell through, but has seen similar situations during his tenure since becoming Eastern’s president in 2007.
“It was very surprising, but not surprising in a sense that you have a new governor and new governors make nominations and sometimes they don’t go through,” Smith said.
Smith said he didn’t know Baber and didn’t think it was extraordinary that she lives more than 100 miles away from campus because a previous board member lived in Edmond, which is about 160 miles from Wilburton.
Eastern’s current board members all have listed residences within 40 miles of the college.
The EOSC Board of Regents is made up of seven governor appointees.
An Oklahoma State Regents for High Education report showed Eastern’s enrollment up about 3.8 percent in the last year, but declined significantly over the past decade. The college has a main campus in Wilburton and campuses in Antlers, Idabel, and McAlester.
As first reported by NonDoc, Baber faced a barrage of questions regarding her nomination, telling committee members that she had no connection to EOSC and her nomination initially surprised her.
Baber also told senators she was not familiar with EOSC’s agriculture department, NonDoc reported.
Eastern Oklahoma State College was established in 1908 as Oklahoma School of Mines and Metallurgy, closed during World War I, and reopened in 1920 with trade and industrial added to the curriculum.
Teacher training and extension courses were added in 1924 before the school changed its name to Eastern Oklahoma State College in 1927.
The school changed its name in 1941 to Eastern Oklahoma State College Agricultural and Mechanical College after it became a junior college under the control of the State Board of Agriculture.
Legislators settled on naming the school Eastern Oklahoma State College and gave it a separate board in 1972.
District 7 State Sen. Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak, told NonDoc that he hadn’t heard about the nomination until Monday night.
Smith told the News-Capital he got a call from Stitt’s office around the May 1 deadline for nominations.
The nomination was made as EOSC Regent Carl Woodridge is coming to the end of his seven-year term.
Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at email@example.com