February 26, 2020
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.
Joseph Harroz, Jr.
Dr. Belinda Higgs Hyppolite
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Dr. David Surratt
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students