OU features workshops on social issues geared to the Greek community

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NORMAN, Okla. - The “Unlearning” workshops started a year ago at the University of Oklahoma. The workshops are all geared for students with social issues they might face such as classism, racism or sexism; however there's one workshop that started today that's creating some controversy.

The University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon no longer exists after members of the frat were filmed chanting racist slurs.

But does it still affect students?

"There's a history, especially at OU as far as SAE and everything, and I was here freshman year and you could have cut the tension in the air with a fork. Not a knife. A fork," Dominique Menser, a student at OU, said.

That was two years ago.

Since then, a series of "Unlearning" workshops were created by student affairs as a way to combat prejudice issues a student may face.

A voluntary class started Monday geared for the "Greek community."

However, the class led to backlash after the school newspaper ran a story this week.

"It just came across wrong. It's just unfortunate because it's a really great program we've had several different chapters participate in it," Brynn Daves, Assistant Dean of Students for Student Affairs at OU, said.

Leaders in the Greek life say they asked for the workshops focused on ableism, sexism, racism and classism.

"They provided us with feedback from their specific chapters and this is where they said they would really like some more resources outside," Daves said.

One of those students is Sidney Patrick.

"Being a woman, having the sexism session and having OCD and having the ableism session, I would hope people would attend those to better know how to incorporate us and make us feel welcome whether it's the work environment and socially,” Sidney Patrick a senior and sorority member who wanted the class, said.

She says she can see how it could be interpreted wrong.

"They thought the university thought we needed it and we could see why that would be upsetting, but in fact, me being one of them, we thought it would be helpful for us if we asked for it," Patrick said.

Again, the workshops are voluntary and open to all students.

They'll have three more in the series this school year plus an LGBTQ ally class.

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