“We are tired of promises with no action,” OU students fed up after second racial slur incident 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.”


According to Harroz, a professor in the History Department was reading from a historical document that used N***** repeatedly.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

“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.”


The incident on Monday comes less than two weeks after a journalism professor also used the N-word in class. 

"We are simply tired of not being treated as human beings on this campus," Miles Francisco, co-director for the OU Black Emergency Response Team, said. 

On Tuesday, members of BERT once again gathered outside Evans Hall. 

"We are tired of promises with no action," Francisco said. 

"It's kind of just like okay so what is the solution?" D'India Brown, an OU freshman, told News 4. 

In response to these recent incidents, for the first time, OU faculty and staff will now be required to go through diversity and inclusion training.

"I've had an opportunity to speak with the professor directly and what I will say is that I don't think the professor is a bad person. I do think that bad judgment was used," Dr. Belinda Hyppolite, the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said. 

Students are hopeful this new training inspires change, but many are still wanting to see more from the administration. 

"I think there should be more action taken against the teachers that have used that language," Austin Wilkie, an OU freshman, said.  

"To this point, everything is just talk, statements and we haven't seen any real accountability on the people who are literally traumatizing their students in the classroom," Francisco said. 

University officials have not named the history professor or said if any disciplinary action is being taken. 

The journalism professor, Peter Gade, has stepped down from teaching for the remainder of the semester. 


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