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OU President James Gallogly absent from Evans Hall during 'Better Together' march, releases statement

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James Gallogly

OU President James Gallogly watches speakers at the Rally to Stop Racism Jan. 22.

OU President James Gallogly was absent as protesters marched to Evans Hall to protest racism on OU's campus during a "Better Together" march. 

Demonstrators marched from Dale Hall to Evans Hall to protest two instances of blackface that occurred in Norman during the last week. However, when the demonstrators arrived at Evans Hall, Gallogly was absent. 

A statement from university spokesperson Lauren Brookey said Gallogly had previously scheduled meetings at the Health Sciences Center and instead asked his executive team to welcome march participants. 

Gallogly faced pointed questions from a crowd of students on Tuesday at the Rally to End Racism. During the event, Gallogly said some students had hatred in their hearts for him and some were rooting for him to fail. 

Gallogly released a statement instead on Twitter during the march promising that his administration would take action in the near future. The statement from Gallogly reads as follows: 

"Today we expect our students to continue respectful dialogue at multiple gatherings and marches to address the important issues of racism and equity that have been the theme of meetings across campus in the past week. Campuses have been historically been an important place for individuals with different experiences, opinions, and values to come together and be heard and achieve change.

"As president of OU, I want to make it clear that I consider student, faculty, and staff voices essential to debates on important issues. The opportunity for real change comes when the voices are raised in a civil and respectful manner, listening occurs, and the energy is focused on improving systems now and for future generations.

"There are a number of actions currently being vetted with key stakeholders which I hope to share soon. In the past week, I have had intense discussions with students, input from faculty and staff, and feedback from both inside and outside out university community. You have my assurance I am committed to creating a culture on campus where everyone feels safe and welcome as they continue the pursuit of learning and civil dialogue." 

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