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OU Black Emergency Response Team to hold town hall, discuss black students' desired changes

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BERT event

OU’s Black Emergency Response Team is holding a town hall meeting tonight, Feb. 12, for black students in response to a professor’s use of a racial slur Feb. 11.

OU’s Black Emergency Response Team is holding a town hall meeting tonight for black students in response to a professor’s use of a racial slur yesterday.

According to a tweet from BERT, the town hall will take place at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in Jacobson Hall in light of Peter Gade, Gaylord director of graduate studies and Gaylord Family Endowed Chair, comparing the use of the phrase “OK, boomer” to use of the N-word, saying the full slur during his senior capstone class Tuesday morning. 

Jamelia Reed, BERT co-director, said the purpose of the town hall is to stay in touch with the black community and provide a place for the black students to discuss their concerns.

“We plan to be having discussions on what we want as a black community, and what do we want going forward,” Reed said. “And having a full macro look and micro look into what our students are experiencing as BERT members, but we also want to know what our other peers are feeling. We want to know how they're doing and ask what do they want to do? What do they want to be changed?”

The town hall is for students who identify as black, according to the Tweet. Any allies will be redirected to the Oklahoma Memorial Union, and press coverage is not allowed. 

Reed said they greatly appreciate everything their allies do, but the reason behind the closed meeting is to create a “safe space” for the students to discuss their experiences.

“Although I am very comfortable talking with anybody about my experience, some students are not,” Reed said. “So it's to create a safe space for people who look like us, who are part of our community, who are part of the identity, who have been traumatized in a similar way, to all be as one, and not to feel intimidated and be able to speak up, speak out the truth.”

Editor’s note: Bailey Lewis is a student in Gaylord College who is also in Gade's capstone class.

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