OU Alum Lauer Out At Today Show, Internship to Show Still Active

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ATHENS — After a prominent OU alumnus was fired from his job at “The Today Show”, the university is responding to the news with sadness and promises of support for the internship that is active at the media outlet.

Matt Lauer was fired from the top anchor job at “Today” after NBC conducted an investigation into allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” according to several media outlets, including NBC News.

Lauer was a student of the school in the late 1970s, but left before he finished the required classes to graduate. He went on to finish his degree in 1997.

Lauer began his career at “Today” in 1992, according to NBC News reports.

Dr. Drew McDaniel, director of the Media Arts & Studies school, where Lauer studied, said he remembered Lauer as a student and had kept in touch over the years.

“I was astounded,” McDaniel said. “This was a complete and utter shock to me.”

The Scripps College of Communication released a statement on Wednesday, saying the college was “disappointed to hear of Matt Lauer’s alleged conduct at NBC News.”

“We believe all people deserve to work in a safe, positive and nurturing environment, and that any incidence of sexual misconduct should be handled with the utmost respect and care,” the statement read.

The college also said they believe the news “serves as an opportunity for continued dialogue with our faculty, staff and students about ethical workplace and personal values.”

The university has a Matt Lauer Internship Support Fund which assists students financially as they intern at “Today”. More than 60 students have interned at the show since the internship program began in 2000, according to Carly Leatherwood, spokesperson for the university.

“Currently we have four students that are set to travel to New York in January for the Spring Semester internship cycle,” Leatherwood said.

As for the future of the internship program and the support fund, Leatherwood declined to comment, saying any comment would be “basing everything on a hypothetical at this time.”

“There’s no plan,” Leatherwood said when asked whether there are plans to discuss the continuation of the program.

OU’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism director Robert Stewart spoke out on Twitter in response to concerns about students who are a part of internships through the university.

“As director, I am committed to finding the best way to support all past and present @scrippsjschool students/alumni who interned at the @TODAYshow — or any other media outlet, for that matter,” Stewart said on the social media site.

Lauer has also donated $166,000 to the Ohio University Foundation between 2003 and 2017, according to Leatherwood. There are no plans to return any of the money.

No media outlets have reported a response from Lauer.


Abby Grisez contributed to this report.