Oklahoma University students protest for provost resignation and new multicultural center
The sit-in outside the Oklahoma University’s president office organized by the students on Wednesday following two controversial incidents of professors using the racial slurs.
The sit-in arranged by the Black Emergency Response Team outside the Univerity president’s office is aimed to make the OU Provost Kyle Harper to resign from his office and demanding for the actions.
One of the signs in hands of the student during the sit-in said “Sorry’ does not undo years of historical trauma.”
The students are not going to leave their places until their demands are met and The Black Emergency Response Team said that it can turn into a hunger strike.
“To the upper administration: there will be no meetings,” said Miles Francisco, co-director of BERT, in a demand letter. “You either meet our demands or you starve us of our freedom. Join us.”
Harroz and Harper were not in their offices around noon Wednesday but as the student's demonstration proceeded late into Wednesday night, Harroz released the following statement:
"We join with OU's concerned and hurt students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, and we echo the need for equal respect for everyone. Our community has experienced incidents in the last two weeks that have certainly caused pain, but more importantly have been reminders of trauma caused by racism and structural issues both past and present. As a University, one of our responsibilities is to not simply reflect society, but to engage in productive, positive discourse, come together, and make society better.
Today, a group of students, who speak for themselves and others, instituted a sit-in and with it, issued a list of specific concerns and demands. This evening, we had the opportunity to sit with the students to better understand their concerns. We identified areas of agreement that will move our University forward. We have agreed to continue these discussions. We will also advance these conversations with other student, faculty, and staff leadership.
Strong communication and actions - not merely words, press events, or public statements - are the only path to a better tomorrow. Together, we can achieve permanent change, and we are committed to doing just that."
Earlier this week in a letter to the campus community, Harroz said faculty, staff and administrators will be required to complete a new diversity, equity, and inclusion training regimen.
"This training will address our implicit bias, it will force us to consider our words and actions and the implications that follow, and more," Harroz stated. "While students already engage in this type of training, for the first time our faculty and staff will be required to participate, as well."