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Students discuss different perspectives at rally in support of OU President James Gallogly

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Gallogly Cake

Mechanical engineering senior, Chris Glenn, carries away cake at the rally in support of OU President James Gallogly Jan. 24.

Students held a rally in support of OU President James Gallogly following community criticism surrounding the administration’s response to multiple racist incidents.

The rally was held Thursday evening in the food court of the Oklahoma Memorial Union and was organized by mechanical engineering senior Chris Glenn. Glenn purchased a cake for the event thanking President Gallogly, though his name was spelled "Gallogy."

Attendees discussed the recent events and Gallogly’s response. Gallogly did not attend the rally.

Numerous media outlets attended the event, and there seemed to be almost as many members of the press as other attendees. This was a strong contrast to Thursday afternoon’s Better Together march which saw hundreds marching in solidarity with OU’s black community, and the Rally to Stop Racism on Tuesday.

Glenn said he was glad to give people the opportunity to come together and have a conversation.

“Hopefully tonight everyone comes by and has some cake,” Glenn said. "That’s the main goal of this thing, is to get everyone together and to get a dialogue started and everyone can come together and have a good time.”

Meteorology freshman James Glover said he came to support Gallogly because he feels the president has been unfairly portrayed.

”A lot of what they’re saying about him, I feel like is painting the wrong picture about him in general,” Glover said. “Especially with that video that came out of the former dean, she spoke and asked him to resign, and then proceeded to throw a sign at him. I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”

Jane Irungu, interim vice president for university community, attended the rally. She said she is not taking sides, but everyone needs to be listened to.

“People express support in different ways and people want their voices to be heard,” Irungu said. “They could use different strategies. Maybe they are bringing a cake for the president, maybe students want to express (something) or want to be heard.”

Irungu said she wants to attend events held from all viewpoints to communicate that she is available to students of all views.

“I’m part of their administration, but I’m also being supportive of all the students and allowing all those voices to be out there,” Irungu said.

Some attendees, such as computer engineering sophomore Nathan Cain, said they were in attendance to see what might take place at the rally. Cain said he condemned the racist incidents of the past few days, but supported the university’s response.

“I don’t believe a public institution should take action to silence (speech),” Cain said. “Instead, I believe the public institution should say how wrong it is, explain why it is wrong, and encourage individual discussion because it is through individual discussion...that you can actually convince people, who were maybe just raised in this.”

Education is the way to combat these incidents, Cain said.

“We have the opportunity to say, ‘No, that’s not how things work,’ and ‘I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat or left or right or independent or where you stand on it, this is wrong,’ Cain said. “And it matches none of those ideologies. I think it’s really important that we emphasize that.”

Glover said he feels Gallogly can take the university in the right direction.

“Obviously we have a problem, obviously there are people who are still bigoted, but I think (Gallogly)’s had the right message,” Glover said.

 

Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and assistant news managing editor for The Daily. Previously he worked as summer editor-in-chief and as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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