The Multicultural Advancement Committee held its second meeting Oct. 25, discussing student financial issues, changes to curriculum and the recruitment of diverse students, faculty and staff, among other things.
The meeting, held at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, was attended by interim OU President Joseph Harroz and Provost Kyle Harper, along with other administration members, students and faculty.
There were four student leaders allotted three questions each for four main topics of discussion. The overall goal of the committee is to create a better cultural atmosphere and experience for the entire OU Community, according to a Multicultural Advancement Committee Facebook post.
“Essentially we spent time asking questions to make sure that university administrators, staff and faculty are upholding their part of the bargain and making actionable and tangible change on campus,” Gibbs said. “I think the meeting was very constructive and productive, as well.”
Gibbs said the conversation does not stop here and that more meetings in some form are to come.
“That’s what we’re going to brainstorm in our debrief,” Gibbs said. “To make sure how can we continue this conversation ... we’re currently looking into ways to make sure this is a sustainable committee.”
Director of Bursar Operations Alison Baker spoke to the committee about financial issues and said that she is striving to help students be more financially literate to promote student success.
“I think it’s a constant goal of mine that clarity is kind,” Baker said. “How can I educate when it comes to how to pay and what’s the best path forward?”
Harroz said he knows the hard work and preparation that goes into a meeting like this.
“It’s a subject matter that is inherently a very emotional one,” Harroz said, “but what I found so profound about this is that I came in here with a set of documents that were put together by our student leaders that were very specific about changes we could make administratively and academically to the institution to make it more diverse and inclusive.”
Harroz said the meeting’s collaboration between community stakeholders across the university gave him goosebumps.
“How do we as collective leaders make a difference, not only on this campus, but around the world?” Harroz said. “What was happening here that truly struck me is how collaborative this was, not just sitting in a room and talking, but doing the really hard work beforehand.”
Harroz said he wants to institutionalize this type of meeting and collaborate more with student leaders.
“This credit goes to (Gibbs) and the group as a whole ... I asked them I’d like to institutionalize this and (Gibbs) said, ‘We’re already ahead of you, we’d like to do this twice a year, every year,’” Harroz said.
Harroz said he spent the majority of the meeting sitting, listening and taking notes.
“I have so many ideas out of this for things to discuss with the leadership team and then to go back to students with,” Harroz said. “This idea of collaborating with our student leadership is the highest form, to me, of what a university can do.”