Senator Young, Legislative Black Caucus discuss diversity, cultural reforms for OU
OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a recent series of racially driven and hostile occurrences at the University of Oklahoma campus, State Senator and Legislative Black Caucus Chair George E. Young, Sr. met with OU President James Gallogly and other caucus members on Thursday to discuss reforms aimed at developing diversity and tolerance.
Young said the caucus specifically outlined several requests at the meeting, including:
- The establishment of a Senior Vice President position at OU, similar to positions other Big 12 schools have already created, with authority to address racial and cultural issues with students and faculty;
- The university’s commitment to the appropriate and adequate financial designation of funds in order for the Vice President position to be successful;
- The university’s cooperation with the students of the Black Student Association to incorporate their request for a zero-tolerance policy of hate speech added to the University of Oklahoma Student Code of Conduct;
- An enhanced curriculum dedicated to the education of social and cultural competency for all students, as well as an increase in multicultural faculty and staff, particularly in higher administration;
- A request to provide additional financial assistance and support of African American programs; and
- Utilizing the two vacant seats on the University of Oklahoma Regents to bring diversity and see the students of color with high regard.
Young noted the members gained an understanding from the meeting that President Gallogly intends to reinvigorate the University of Oklahoma’s Affirmative Action plan and the members viewed this as a move in a good direction.
The Oklahoma City legislator said he and the caucus members are encouraged by this week’s meeting and hope it’s one of many steps towards improving diversity and inclusion on the campus.
“The caucus is confident that President Gallogly and other university leaders are willing to work in tandem to make greater strides towards improving student relations and promoting an environment of inclusion throughout the campus administration, classroom, social, and extracurricular programming,” Young said. “This week’s meeting will not be the last, as the effort is ongoing and will continue as the weeks move forward. Our caucus believes that the work will be done with the courageous and diligent efforts of all involved. It is beyond time for these matters to be addressed and it is imperative that we become more proactive, that we address these injustices instead of being reactionary upon an occurrence.”