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OU Undergraduate Student Congress discusses actions to prevent racist incidents, confirms cabinet members

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SGA Meeting (copy)

The Undergraduate Student Congress meets Sept. 25, 2018.

In its first meeting of the semester, the Undergraduate Student Congress appointed members to President Adran Gibbs’ new cabinet and discussed the prevalence of racist incidents on campus, among other topics.

When addressing student concerns, many members asked questions referring to the recent racist video posted by two OU students.

Social sciences representative Dan Williams expressed frustration with what he feels is history repeating itself.

“I have seen a lot of this before,” Williams said, referencing his time in the SGA. “It seems like every time we have one of these incidents on campus, we put a Band-Aid on it.”

During the meeting, Chair of Congress Tom Cassidy addressed the issue of what some, like Williams, see as a pattern of racism on campus.

“It’s our job to demand better from our university (and) to demand action from our university,” Cassidy said.

Additionally, one of the concerns voiced by Williams involved comments made by former dean of the College of International Studies Suzette Grillot Jan. 22. Williams said he doesn’t think President Gallogly should resign, but he feels Gallogly “brushes off” many university problems as budget issues.

“Your job as president is to make sure that students want to come here,” Williams said. “And even saying it’s a budget issue, if people see that there’s a bunch of racists at OU, and not just like, once in awhile but every stinkin’ semester, they’re not going to want to come here.”

Working together with the executive branch, Cassidy said one course of action going forward would be the creation of focus groups of people from different parts of campus to talk about these issues and how the university should respond.

“I think going forward, this is a promising path,” Cassidy said. “We can bring together a lot of voices and make sure that we’re making the right decisions in terms of code of conduct, individual education, and campus-wide initiatives we can take to respond to these incidents we’ve seen, but also make sure that we are changing our campus culture so these things don’t happen in the future.”

Three of Gibbs’ cabinet nominations were also confirmed by unanimous consent, while one was tabled due to an absence.

“We’re going to be talking (with the executive branch) in the coming days about how we can both support each other to accomplish our shared goals,” said Cassidy, who called for better response plans and a culture change when dealing with incidents like these. “I think we’ll be able to really amplify our voice this semester and accomplish a lot more, so I’m really excited about that.”

 

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