‘No response is required’ to UCOSA legislation says Lamb

UCO President Todd Lamb has yet to respond to legislation presented to him by members of the UCO Student Association (UCOSA) and UCO’s Faculty Senate, which has led one group to express concern over his lack of action.

The UCOSA legislation regarding overdose prevention vending machines, the fate of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) on campus and the classroom future of College of Fine Arts and Design Interim Dean Kato Buss, received no response from Lamb, nor was there a response to the legislation presented to Lamb April 9 by the Faculty Senate regarding overdose prevention vending machines.


That lack of response is creating concern about his leadership the week of his inauguration when a full schedule of activities are planned to celebrate his presidency, more than nine months after he assumed the role. It also has prompted UCOSA to consider a yearly vote of confidence on UCO’s president because of Lamb’s inaction.  

“No response to the legislation; no response is required,” said Lamb regarding the legislation presented by UCOSA in an interview last week with The Vista. “That continues to be under evaluation.”

While Lamb is not required to respond to UCOSA’s legislation, he does have 30 business days to respond to Faculty Senate’s legislation.

Having received the legislation on April 9, Lamb has until May 21 to respond.

“The issue is still under evaluation,” Lamb said in the interview. 


Faculty Senate President Alyssa Provencio said she is concerned that Lamb’s priorities, and those of the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) Board of Regents, are not a reflection of the UCO community.  

“President Lamb has been very transparent about the fact he serves the RUSO Board of Regents,” Provencio said. “My concern is that the desires of the Board may not always align with the needs and interests of faculty, staff or students.”

The RUSO board oversees the six regional universities in the state of Oklahoma, UCO being one of them.

UCOSA President Lauren Harman said Lamb’s lack of response during the monthly meeting to the three pieces of legislation is cause for concern. In another piece of legislation that has been authored in UCOSA by Harman and Chair of Congress Izzi Barry, UCOSA seeks to introduce a vote of confidence for the University president at the last session of every congress.

“Essentially we’re doing a vote of confidence on the university president,” Harman said. “We’re going to make that an annual thing, where we vote on it as a congress every year. 

“It is our responsibility to voice the concerns that we’ve been hearing all year,” she said. “I think as UCOSA we are the voice of the students and especially us as an executive team, we have opportunities to meet with people that not everyone on campus has the opportunity to meet with. It’s just really unfortunate whenever we do voice those concerns, and we don’t feel like we’re being listened to.”

UCOSA has based its legislation on language used by the Faculty Senate for a yearly vote of confidence.

On March 14, the Faculty Senate approved a vote of confidence on a 19-1-1 vote.

The Faculty Senate resolution reads, “Be it resolved that the President of the University of Central Oklahoma, Todd G. Lamb, J.D., has secured the general support and respect of the Faculty Senate and the Faculty Association which it represents.”

UCOSA is making changes to its bylaws to make the vote of confidence take place yearly, Harman said.

Barry pointed out the importance of a president’s responsiveness to students.

“Per the RUSO policy manual the University’s president’s reappointment and retention is conditional on support and respect of the many constituencies for which the president has responsibility,” said Barry. “One of those listed constituencies is students.”

While both UCOSA and UCO Faculty Senate have authored legislation regarding Narcan vending machines on campus, another group on campus has also focused its attention on the issue. Sunshine Cowan, a professor in the kinesiology and health studies department at UCO, has been working with her capstone class on a project to get overdose prevention vending machines on campus.

According to Cowan, UCO has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for such a vending machine.

“It is no cost to the university,” Cowan said. “It’s through a federal grant.”

When discussing the grant, a student in Cowan’s capstone course, Kayle O’Mally said, “The purpose of it is to prevent opioid and stimulant misuse on college campuses.”

While the Oklahoma State Department of Health does not track specific college campuses, numbers show that fentanyl overdose deaths overall increased twelvefold in 2022 compared to prior years.

In an interview with The Vista in March, Mark Woodward, public information officer for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said, “17 to 27 is a large percent of them, not all of them certainly,” when discussing the age-range of victims of fentanyl overdose.

According to the Oklahoma Census, the age range of 19-29 makes up 15% of Oklahoma County, where Edmond is located. Within Oklahoma County, 722 unintentional drug overdose deaths were reported in 2021, with 130 being related to fentanyl, according to the state Department of Health. Also included in the statistics released by the Department of Health, was information stating that teens and adults ages 15-24 had the highest hospitalization rate related to drug overdose.

In 2021, 654 students participated in a National College Health Assessment (NCHA), in which 6.3% of those who participated self-reported having used non-medical prescription opioids.

Comparatively to 2023, where 552 students participated in the NCHA survey, and 7.1% of students self-reported having used non-medical prescription opioids.

“The focus that we’ve taken on this, is that we are a campus that prepares for emergencies,” said Cowan. “From the public health lens it’s a part of emergency preparedness.”

While UCO does not have any vending machines, Narcan is still available to students through other means. UCO police do carry Narcan and are trained on how to administer it should a student require it. Students can also receive training on how to administer Narcan and how to recognize the symptoms of an overdose through UCO’s Roll Sober initiative. Roll Sober also has fentanyl testing strips, and through them Narcan can be ordered for free.

While the Faculty Senate has passed legislation regarding Narcan, it also has authored legislation in support of UCOSA’s initiative for the university to release a statement regarding DEI.

UCOSA’s legislation reads, “An act regarding the current state of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education in the wake of Governor Stitt’s Executive Order 2023-31; taking an official stance supporting and reiterating the importance of DEI; calling on University administration to make a public statement in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion; to be distributed to President Lamb, the President’s Cabinet, and the Presidents of the Faculty and Staff Senates.”

The Faculty Senate’s legislation reads, “Be it resolved that the UCO Faculty Senate joins UCO Student Association (UCOSA) in affirming the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and in affirming the request for a public statement in support of DEI.”

UCO still has until May 31 to comply with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Executive Order 2023-31 regarding DEI.

Another piece of legislation presented to President Lamb from UCOSA was regarding Buss’ continued employment at UCO.

Buss is the interim dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design at UCO, and in May 2021 he faced allegations of sexual harassment from six students. This came after an international student claimed that UCO administrators failed to take action after she was sexually assaulted in March 2020.

The case has since been dismissed.

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