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Senate confirms Stevenson to OU Board of Regents

University of Oklahoma graduate and Ohio-based businessman Eric Stevenson was confirmed by the state Senate on Monday to serve on OU's board of regents.

The lone dissenting vote came from Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, the head of Oklahoma’s Legislative Black Caucus.

Young called his vote a protest vote, saying he knew Stevenson would be confirmed regardless. Stevenson is black and joins the board of regents at a time when the university has experienced a series of racist incidents on campus.

But Young said he wanted to make clear the black caucus still has concerns about Stevenson serving on the board of regents, namely because Stevenson lives out of state.

“He was a great choice except for the fact that we thought that probably someone who was more in tune to the environment of the campus, someone who may be more present in the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and the Norman area … would have made a better choice,” Young said.

Stevenson, a senior management employee for National Mutual Insurance Company, lives in Columbus, Ohio. He was tapped by Gov. Kevin Stitt to fill a vacancy on the board of regents.

Stevenson said he plans to be in Oklahoma about once a month.

But for Young, that’s still not enough time to help solve the heightened racial tensions on campus. That is a bigger problem the full, seven-member board should be working harder to solve, he said.

“I’m getting more and more concerned that we’re trying to place it all on one black guy to fix the problem and you’ve got all of those other folks on the board of regents,” he said. “They are just as responsible for the events that have taken place on the campus of OU and they ought to be just as concerned.”

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat shepherded Stevenson’s nomination through the upper chamber.

After the Senate vote Monday, he praised his colleagues for their bipartisan and overwhelming approval of Stevenson.

“I have carried many executive nominees through the confirmation process in the Oklahoma Senate, but none has been better suited or more qualified for their post as Eric Stevenson is to serve on the OU board of regents,” he said.

Related Photos
<strong>New OU regent Eric Stevenson, right, inside the Student Union Tuesday last week to meet with OU students. At left is Adran Gibbs, president of the university's Student Government Association. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]</strong>

New OU regent Eric Stevenson, right, inside the Student Union Tuesday last week to meet with OU students. At left is Adran Gibbs, president of the university's Student Government Association. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1ea3b2cda0a1a6c0662b8fd121f54808.jpg" alt="Photo - New OU regent Eric Stevenson, right, inside the Student Union Tuesday last week to meet with OU students. At left is Adran Gibbs, president of the university's Student Government Association. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] " title=" New OU regent Eric Stevenson, right, inside the Student Union Tuesday last week to meet with OU students. At left is Adran Gibbs, president of the university's Student Government Association. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> New OU regent Eric Stevenson, right, inside the Student Union Tuesday last week to meet with OU students. At left is Adran Gibbs, president of the university's Student Government Association. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fc8137bc84a1360a08eb851bfc7695a7.jpg" alt="Photo - In this March 1, 2019 file photo Eric Stevenson stands with his wife Davia in the Blue Room at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. Gov. The Oklahoma Senate has confirmed Gov. Kevin Stitt's pick of Stevenson, the first African American to serve on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in 20 years. The Senate voted 45-1 on Monday to confirm Stevenson, an Ohio business executive. [DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" In this March 1, 2019 file photo Eric Stevenson stands with his wife Davia in the Blue Room at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. Gov. The Oklahoma Senate has confirmed Gov. Kevin Stitt's pick of Stevenson, the first African American to serve on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in 20 years. The Senate voted 45-1 on Monday to confirm Stevenson, an Ohio business executive. [DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> In this March 1, 2019 file photo Eric Stevenson stands with his wife Davia in the Blue Room at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. Gov. The Oklahoma Senate has confirmed Gov. Kevin Stitt's pick of Stevenson, the first African American to serve on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in 20 years. The Senate voted 45-1 on Monday to confirm Stevenson, an Ohio business executive. [DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-88f715ba34f316658deb3a93f2364604.jpg" alt="Photo - Eric Stevenson stands with his wife, Davia, in the Blue Room at the Capitol last month. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman] " title=" Eric Stevenson stands with his wife, Davia, in the Blue Room at the Capitol last month. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Eric Stevenson stands with his wife, Davia, in the Blue Room at the Capitol last month. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-42f4ded83720eb74c8798a21960f11ef.jpg" alt="Photo - State Sen. George Young " title=" State Sen. George Young "><figcaption> State Sen. George Young </figcaption></figure>
Carmen Forman

Carmen Forman covers the state Capitol and governor's office for The Oklahoman. A Norman native and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she previously covered state politics in Virginia and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma. Read more ›

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