Jabar Shumate did not wait until his official start date to begin his duties as OU’s newest administrator.
While he had previously been working off the clock, Shumate officially began Monday as the OU Vice President for University Community. He said his preparation has paid off.
“For the past month, I’ve been just visiting and connecting with various groups and individuals on campus,” Shumate said. “But it actually feels good to have [an office] of my own.”
Shumate and others have laid out a blueprint for mandatory diversity training, which was called for with the rise of black student alliance Unheard and after the Sigma Alpha Epsilon scandal. He said all incoming freshmen will be required to take five hours of the training and will filter the students out with Camp Crimson, gateway classes or a different, stand-alone class.
“We really want students from the start at OU to understand that diversity and inclusivity is at the core of who we are as Sooners,” Shumate said.
Freshmen that do not go to Camp Crimson and receive the training there will receive it if they take a gateway course, according to Shumate. If they do not take a gateway course, certain courses that are approved by a committee will be able to infuse the diversity curriculum into the course’s curriculum. If a student does not participate in any of those, they must take a stand-alone diversity training, Shumate said.
“By the end of your freshman year,” Shumate said, “you will have to have had this five hours of diversity and inclusivity experience within one of those options.”
On Monday, his official starting date, Shumate said he participated in meetings with other vice presidents of OU, including Catherine Bishop, vice president of public affairs, and Tripp Hall, vice president for development. Shumate also visited with OU President David Boren in the afternoon, he said. Boren said in a statement how much he has enjoyed working with Shumate.
“Jabar and I have developed a very close working relationship,” Boren said. “Even though he [did] not officially start until June 1st, we have already developed the practice of talking several times each week. His performance has been outstanding. His insights have been extremely helpful and I believe that he will be a very positive force for more inclusiveness in the OU family."
Shumate has chosen D'Andre Fisher as an assistant to help in his duties as a new administrator. Shumate said Fisher has been helpful because of the contacts he has across the university.
“He’s been very helpful in helping me connect with ongoing programs and students,” Shumate said. “He’s gotten me up to speed on activities like Camp Crimson and has even partaken in helping me develop the mandatory diversity training.”
Shumate said the future of campus looks bright and that there is much more work to be done.
“Students have been a major part of why I’m here today, and they are really leading the way in what we’re going to do in terms of diversity and inclusivity on this campus,” Shumate said. “So I’m really excited.”