Tom Orr

Tom Huston Orr

OU professor and former School of Drama director Tom Orr is on administrative leave due to unspecified allegations. 

According to an email sent to Helmerich School of Drama students, faculty and staff by school director Seth Gordon, Orr is on administrative leave as of Jan. 13. Orr, a former School of Drama director who resigned from the position in 2018, has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple former students in the past, the OU Daily reported in September 2018.

“I am unsure right now how long the leave will last, but we are taking steps to make sure his classes are covered,” reads Gordon’s email, obtained by the Transcript Sunday. 

A university spokesperson confirmed Orr’s leave in a Sunday statement, but did not give any specific reason for the university’s action. 

“In light of recent allegations, Professor Orr has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation,” a statement from OU reads. “Due to the confidential nature of this personnel issue, this is the extent of the University’s comment at this time. The University’s primary concern is the welfare of its students.”

The Daily reported in September 2018 that at least two alumni had filed sexual harassment complaints against Orr with the university’s Title IX office that had resulted in no action on OU’s part. At the time, numerous other School of Drama alumni spoke with the Daily about inappropriate and sexualized behavior they had witnessed from Orr but had not reported to Title IX. 

Orr resigned as School of Drama director in August 2018 after sexual harassment allegations emerged against former OU professor and donor John Scamehorn, but Orr remained a professor. Student accounts include allegations that Orr knew about student concerns about Scamehorn, but did not take action.

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