OU students react after interim president says second racial slur incident occurred in less than two weeks

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – University of Oklahoma Students are responding to a letter sent out to students Monday regarding the second incident of a professor using a racial slur in class in less than two weeks. 

On Monday, interim president Joseph Harroz sent out a letter, saying another faculty member used the “N-word” during class.

“We are all weary of racially charged incidents occurring within our university community. Now, for the second time in less than two weeks, I find myself addressing a faculty member’s use of racially offensive language in the classroom.”

OU Interim President, Joseph Harroz Jr. in a letter to students

According to Harroz, a professor in the History Department was reading from a historical document that used N***** repeatedly.

Instead of omitting the word, the faculty member issued a trigger warning and recited the word.

“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,” Harroz continued.

Harroz went on to say that university leadership is working on diversity, equity, and inclusion training for OU faculty, staff, and administration.

An incident response protocol is also in the works.

“We will be providing more details on these and other action steps in the near future, and we will continue to engage thought leaders among our student body, faculty, staff, and alumni to ensure we address this boldly, honestly, and with clear eyes. While it is unfortunate that another incident would occur before we could roll out this action plan, we are resolute in addressing these matters with decisive action. It is our responsibility to ensure that OU fulfills its promise to lead in bringing society closer together.”

OU Interim President, Joseph Harroz Jr. in a letter to students

The name of the professor in this incident has not been released.

On Tuesday, members of the OU Black Emergency Response Team gathered outside Evans Hall in response to the incident. 

“If you’re a white person in this country, having benefited from a system of white supremacy, you just don’t say the word under any context,” Miles Francisco, co-director of BERT, said. It’s really that simple. It shouldn’t be that hard, especially for a history teacher.”

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