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Oklahoma senator outlines requests for diversity, cultural reform at OU

Posted at 11:21 AM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 16:08:34-05

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma senator George Young announced several requests for the University of Oklahoma to put in place to address recent racial incidents on campus.

Young held a news conference at 2 p.m. to discuss Thursday's meeting between the Legislative Black Caucus and OU President James Gallogly.

At the news conference, Young outlined several requests for OU:

  • The establishment of a Senior Vice President position at OU, similar to positions other Big 12 schools have already created, with authority to address racial and cultural issues with students and faculty;
  • The university’s commitment to the appropriate and adequate financial designation of funds in order for the Vice President position to be successful;
  • The university’s cooperation with the students of the Black Student Association to incorporate their request for a zero-tolerance policy of hate speech added to the University of Oklahoma Student Code of Conduct;
  • An enhanced curriculum dedicated to the education of social and cultural competency for all students, as well as an increase in multicultural faculty and staff, particularly in higher administration;
  • A request to provide additional financial assistance and support of African American programs; and
  • Utilizing the two vacant seats on the University of Oklahoma Regents to bring diversity and see the students of color with high regard.

In late January, two students who were seen in a video, with one wearing "blackface," withdrew from the university after the video went viral. The video shows one of the former students dressed in black paint saying a racial slur.

“The caucus is confident that President Gallogly and other university leaders are willing to work in tandem to make greater strides towards improving student relations and promoting an environment of inclusion throughout the campus administration, classroom, social, and extracurricular programming,” Young said. “This week’s meeting will not be the last, as the effort is ongoing and will continue as the weeks move forward. Our caucus believes that the work will be done with the courageous and diligent efforts of all involved. It is beyond time for these matters to be addressed and it is imperative that we become more proactive, that we address these injustices instead of being reactionary upon an occurrence.”

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