The presidents of the student government association president and the OU Panhellenic association have each condemned a video circulating on Twitter depicting an OU student in blackface using a racial slur.
SGA president Adran Gibbs and OU Panhellenic president Hailey Thomas issued statements Friday evening calling for more steps to be taken to prevent these types of incidents. The student filming the video was Francie Ford, member of OU’s Tri Delta chapter, and the student in blackface was Olivia Urban.
Here are my thoughts on today’s disgusting video.https://t.co/tLBpLlnNyC— Adran Elijah II (@AdranGibby) January 19, 2019
“This disgusting language and the caricature of blackface will not and should not be tolerated on our campus,” Gibbs said. “This behavior is shameful and must be addressed on a larger scale through actionable steps.”
Gibbs said that he hopes that the university and affiliated organizations would take steps to make sure the students understood the hurtful impact of their actions.
“OU has many students, staff, and faculty that are directly affected by these bigoted remarks,” Gibbs said. “I hope these students can find it in their heart to issue a full-fledged apology to the black community and take some time of their own to learn from this situation.”
Thomas said the Panhellenic community wants to be transparent about the incident and said they recognize how incidents like these have become a “common occurrence” within the Panhellenic community.
“Silence is complacency,” Thomas said. “We clearly still have a lot of work to do and we condemn the racist, repulsive comments on the Snapchat video. We also recognize and condemn this behavior that occurs off screen, behind closed doors and in casual conversation.”
The Panhellenic community will take steps to prevent further incidents like these, Thomas said.
“We will work with our chapters to recognize and acknowledge the privilege in the OU Panhellenic system and our members so we can work towards breaking down and challenging the system that oppresses marginalized communities,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the Panhellenic community recognizes responses to racist incidents can often contain hollow words, but they plan to take action.
“We are committed to taking steps to build bridges to ensure a welcoming environment for everyone and continue to drive our members to be better,” Thomas said.
Gibbs said that the community “must continue to be vigilant in calling out behavior like this.”
“Above all, we must treat each other with mutual respect, love and kindness,” Gibbs said. “Today all three of these were missing.”
In response to the incident, statements have been released by OU President Jim Gallogly and Interim Vice President for University Community Jane Irungu, the OU chapter of Tri Delta and the OU Black Student Association.