What is your advice for students who feel frustrated by recent events and the atmosphere on campus—how can they get involved and make their voice heard in a real, tangible way?
To all of the students who have been adversely impacted by the recent campus-wide and nation-wide events, I would say to them that this University will not tolerate any acts of hate or bigotry. Both campus leaders and administrators agree it is important to ensure that students feel that they are in a safe academic environment. For those students who wish to take on a more active role in the direction of campus, I recommend that they apply to be a part of either the SGA Executive Cabinet or SGA Undergraduate Student Congress [link to applications here] in order to make meaningful differences for marginalized communities.
What are some methods of disrupting racism that you have noticed are especially effective/helpful?
Today, we oftentimes judge too quickly and listen too slowly. If we are going to address racial issues, then:
- Individuals must challenge themselves to stand up for folks who are not able to advocate for their interests and concerns.
- It is also through stepping out of one’s comfort zone and learning more about other cultures, whether through studying abroad or attending multicultural events, that we can promote a better understanding of the global community.
- Additionally, the University should work toward developing a campus climate survey about the specific information related to student body representation in terms of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and more in order to fully establish the parameters of how much institutional change is required to move the University in a better direction.
All of these steps, both individually and institutionally, can help address challenges related to racism.
What are some of the accomplishments you have made as a student leader (regarding racial discrimination), and what are some of the limitations of student activism? How do you move past these obstacles?
We hosted an event called “Inclusivity Night,” during which a number of students, faculty, and administrators came together to share their powerful testimonies on whether they felt OU was an inclusive campus. Based on this feedback, our Department of Inclusivity hosted an event called “Class, Cookies, and Conversation” to discuss how one’s socioeconomic status affects their college experience.
With respect to student activism, it is often the case that change happens slowly due to administrative resistance or lack of resources. That is why effective student activists should be persistent in pursuing their objectives, regardless of what obstacles need to be overcome. Organizing collective action is a challenging task, but it is certainly attainable.