Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Recently demoted dean calls for OU president to resign

NORMAN, Okla. - The turmoil at the University of Oklahoma continues, with a new controversy also putting a spotlight on President Jim Gallogly.

Tuesday, student organizations held an anti-racism rally at the student union, in response to the racist video that recently surfaced.

One of the people who expressed themselves was Dr. Suzette Grillot. She was recently removed from her position as Dean of the College of International Studies.

She started her commentary by saying she wanted to make eye contact with Gallogly, provoking applause from the packed room of students, many of whom spoke before her.

Her most striking statement asked for a very specific action from the president.

"I am not going to be as kind as the people who [spoke] before me  and say 'in a year from now, we are going to ask for your resignation.' I am F**** asking for it now."

The hall erupted with applause as she handed Gallogly a piece of paper with 'Resign Now' written on it.

"People are shocked," said International Studies student Te'a Williams. "But it's not like not like a bad shock. I think a lot of people wanted to say it but haven't spoken out, so I think that applause was 'Yes, thank you for saying that."

Professor Grillot said racism is in the school's culture, saying "It's been baked into the layer cake of university administration for generations."

"It goes unchallenged until a crisis arises and public relations become a priority," she said.

Grillot applauded the students for coming together to stand against any racism on OU's campus, but says the problem exists at the very top, saying the administration has maintains "a commitment to the white man's status quo."

She says she was demoted from her position as dean as retaliation, saying she spoke out against the hiring process used to bring in President Gallogly. The president, she says, questioned her on the importance of recruiting students from Brazil and Mexico through programs in her department.

"If I have to explain why we need a diverse student body to a president of a public institution of higher education, then we all know what kind of leader we have and what kind of trouble we’re in," she said to the crowd.

Still a tenured professor, she released a public statement about her removal Monday.

"You would think someone who does so much for the campus would be praised," said Williams, who says Grillot's passionate speech brought her to tears.

President Gallogly quietly listening to the students, and Grillot, airing their grievances. During his speech he reiterated that the girls in the video were racist and that those actions have no place on campus. He didn't directly respond to Grillot's demand.

He did, however, say that when he first took the job as president, he reached out to deans for involvement in diversity efforts.

"One dean wrote back and said 'I’m too busy, I don’t have time for that,' [that very same dean] just asked me to resign."

There is now a petition to reinstate Grillot as dean of the College of International Studies that already has hundreds of signatures.

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