Students stage sit-in, cry racism after prof reads 'historical document' containing n-word
University of Oklahoma students are protesting after a protester read from a "historical document."
The document contained the n-word, which the professor read aloud without censoring.
The University of Oklahoma has apologized after a history professor used the n-word in class while reading from a “historical document.”
OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. sent a letter to the OU community addressing the incident by announcing plans to institute a mandatory “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training for all faculty, staff, and members of the administration. The training will address “implicit bias.”
This latest incident follows another episode, where a different professor equated the phrase “OK, boomer” to the n-word.
“We are all weary of racially charged incidents occurring within our university community,” Harroz began.
Harroz then focused on the faculty member who used the racial slur in the classroom.
“While she could have made the point without reciting the actual word, she chose otherwise,” Harroz wrote. “Her issuance of a 'trigger warning' before her recitation does not lessen the pain caused by the use of the word. For students in the class, as well as members of our community, this was another painful experience. It is common sense to avoid uttering the most offensive word in the English language, especially in an environment where the speaker holds the power.”
According to Harroz, after the previous incident, OU officials began working on “action steps” to address these issues. Among these were the new mandatory training and an “incident response protocol” that “quickly employs culturally restorative justice practices designed to create a pathway to reconciliation through education and the changing of behavior.”
Campus Reform reached out to OU for more details on the training and asked if the history professor had been reprimanded, but received no response in time for publication.
Students from the Black Emergency Response Team (BERT) at OU started a sit-in and hunger strike to protest the university’s response.
The group’s list of demands includes the resignation of OU Provost Kyle Harper, mandatory equity training, creating a “Multicultural Center” for “marginalized groups on campus,” which, as the Norman Transcript noted, would include a Popeyes chicken restaurant.
In the demand letter, members of BERT also claim they will not leave the sit-in until they receive Harper’s resignation letter and a contract from Harroz that includes a detailed timeline to adhere to these demands.
A reporter on Twitter, Emma Keith, reported that OU is working to include BERT’s demands into the new diversity plan. Keith tweeted a screenshot from an OU email media request.
Emma Wilks, a student at OU, told Campus Reform that she believes BERT’s attempts to frame the incident as racist are “ridiculous.”
"While I don’t think it’s okay to say the word, I do know that she did not mean the word in a racist or derogatory way,” Wilks said. “She was simply reading a speech word for word. I think it’s ridiculous that BERT is making this a racist incident when it was not.”