OU students hold “Better Together March” in response to blackface incidents

NORMAN, Okla. - In response to two separate incidents of blackface in one week, Thursday afternoon, hundreds of students took part in a march against hate- hoping the administration will take notice.

“It’s important to bring awareness to the situation because our black community does not feel safe currently right now,” said student Destine Dickson, Better Together March organizer.

Two separate incidents of blackface occurring on OU’s campus. The first on Friday, after a Snapchat video surfaced of two women, one wearing blackface, saying the “n” word. And the second happening on Wednesday, when a man was seen walking around campus with his face painted black.

“I’ve experienced racism and bigotry and I’m tired of it. This isn’t the place to do that. I shouldn’t be worried about being a black student on campus. I shouldn't be worried about our safety,” said march organizer Jamelia Reed.

Several hundred students, along with faculty members joined in on the march from Dale Hall to the student union.

The first half of the march was in silence, some students even covered their mouths with duct tape, then followed by chanting for unity.

“I’m really out here as an ally. I have plenty friends, people I consider family out, here that are really affected and hurt by the words and actions by these pathetic and disgusting people out here,” said student Caleb Knowles.

On Tuesday, OU students held a rally where they called for the president’s resignation, citing the administration isn’t doing enough to address the incidents.

“It was disappointing today that Jim Gallogly wasn’t here, that Provost Harper wasn’t here to see and meet with the students. That tells you what your leadership is like to me,” faculty member Dr. Suzanne Grillot said.

“Our administration here, they need to speak up and really take a strong stance on this and just completely denounce it because it’s so wrong. It’s literally disgusting,” Knowles said.

Now participants are hoping the administration will listen.

“That’s the reason why we are asking for a zero-tolerance policy on our campus so these instances don’t occur anymore,” Dickson said.

The University says President Gallogly wasn't in attendance of today's march because he was in Oklahoma City at the Health Sciences Center campus. But he asked members of the executive team to greet and welcome students during the march.

Tonight, there will be a rally held on campus in support of the president. We're told he will not be in attendance.

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