Students Demands Met: 3 Day OU Sit-In Ends
After occupying the Evans Hall administration building for 57 hours, students with the University of Oklahoma’s Black Emergency Response Team (BERT) ended their sit-in and hunger strike.
Six students said they had not eaten for three days as dozens streamed out of the building Friday afternoon.
“Even though the sit-in and hunger strike is over, the fight continues,” BERT leaders said in the administration building’s foyer. “We must remain resolved in our search for justice on this campus for our well-being and for that of the entire campus.”
The university had met all of their demands in some form, aside from the immediate removal of Provost Kyle Harper.
Student said the university agreed to mandatory equity training for all faculty and staff, a student course focusing on equity and inclusion in the coming semester, additional counseling resources and working toward creating a multicultural center.
The university said those proposals supported by university administration must be approved by the board of regents.
The students submitted six additional requests Thursday night. From those, they said OU leadership agreed to a presidential advisory committee and a review process for senior leadership. Students said the first review will be of provost Kyle Harper. Students said those changes can be implemented without regent approval.
“Our students have raised legitimate concerns about increasing a sense of belonging at OU, echoing issues we see raised at universities across the country,” OU Dean of Students David Surratt said. “They came with a list of demands that in our discussions, we agreed were actually solutions that reflect the work already underway as part of the university’s draft strategic plan.”
Students thanked the work of Dean Surratt, Vice President Belinda Higgs-Hyppolite and Interim President Joe Harroz.
“The beauty of us is power,” BERT member Destinee Dickson said. “Faculty, staff and students occupied this building for the past three days and refused their bodies of the fundamental physical necessities to achieve a bigger goal.”