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OU Undergraduate Student Congress passes resolution to condemn blackface

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SGA Meeting (copy)

Student representatives voting at the Student Government Association meeting on Oct. 1, 2019.

The Undergraduate Student Congress passed a resolution condemning blackface on OU's campus in its Oct. 1 meeting, among other actions.

Written as a response to the three blackface incidents on campus in the last nine months, the resolution states “blackface is blatantly racist and intentionally hurtful to the black community,” and the congress “does not accept racist behavior at OU.”

Several congress members made friendly amendments to change the resolution’s wording, and congress member Hennessey Chism suggested tabling a vote until the resolution could be rewritten accordingly. Despite this, the resolution was passed with a roll call vote of 17-3-11.

Chism said one of the main issues she had with the resolution was its brevity. She said the text of the resolution stated that blackface is bad and the Student Government Association doesn’t support it, but it didn’t describe any future action to be taken as a result.

“It didn’t seem like there was enough effort put into that bill to show the black community that the Student Government Association actually stands behind them and supports them,” Chism said.

Congress member and former Black Student Association president Taylor Wilson said she thought congress was focused on releasing a statement quickly, not necessarily on taking significant action.

“I think that’s the wrong approach to handling this situation,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the bill was passed by ignoring the lack of approval from the three black congress members that voted on the bill.

“I just thought by passing this bill, that congress spoke over the three voices from the black community in the body while claiming to be allies, which is ultimately dismissive and disingenuous,” Wilson said.

Malachi Bouch, one of the authors of the resolution, said he wished the resolution would have been written differently so more congress members could have agreed to it.

“I felt it was important that we start talking about it now,” Bouch said. “I definitely agree with some of the concerns and some of the reasoning that certain members wanted to table the resolution.”

Bouch said he plans to ask that the resolution be sent back to the Undergraduate Student Congress so it can be modified.

“I look forward to working towards a resolution that everyone agrees should be passed,” Bouch said.


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