Students Stage Sit-In Outside OU Offices

Feb 27, 2020

OU students participate in a sit-in at the university's administrative offices organized by the OU Black Emergency Response Team.
Credit OU Black Emergency Response Team

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Dozens of University of Oklahoma students staged a sit-in for a second day Thursday outside OU’s administrative offices following two instances of professors using racial slurs in the classroom.

OU’s Black Emergency Response Team, known as BERT, gathered Wednesday morning in Evans Hall and called for the resignation of OU provost Kyle Harper, mandatory equity training for faculty, semester-long diversity training and a new multicultural center on campus.

Some students spent the night in Evans Hall and the group said it would remain there “until these demands are met.”

The sit-in comes days after interim OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. announced that a history professor read from a historical document in class that used the N-word repeatedly. Earlier this month, an OU journalism professor stepped down from teaching the course for the rest of the semester after telling students during class that the N-word is no more offensive than the term “boomer.”

“We’re simply tired of not being treated as human beings on this campus,” BERT’s co-director, Miles Francisco, said Wednesday. “BERT will continue its efforts to disrupt oppression on this campus just as faculty continue to use offensive, harmful and traumatizing speech in the classroom for quote-unquote educational purposes.”

The university said in a statement late Wednesday that leaders had met with the students to discuss their concerns.

“We identified areas of agreement that will move our university forward,” the OU statement said. “We have agreed to continue these discussions. We will also advance these conversations with other student, faculty, and staff leadership.”