Multiple organizations on the University of Oklahoma campus are making changes to become more inclusive. The latest was by the group Sooner Mental Health who dropped the word “Sooner” from its name.
College can be a tough transition for some, and stressful at times for almost every student. And that's what J.D. Baker's group is trying to address. “Your mental health is just as important as your physical health,” he said.
And members have made it their mission to get help to every single student who needs it.
“These statistics are real and these struggles are real and we want to help students. And I don’t want to turn people away because they’re offended simply because of a name,” he explained. The group is set to vote on a new name on Tuesday after making the decision to eliminate “Sooner.”
It's not the first group to make the change. Sooner Ally is now LGBTQ Ally. Sooners for Social Justice is now Students for Social Justice. And the a-Capella performers known as the Redliners are now the Crimson Chords.
And most of these groups are doing this to discourage discrimination.
Sydne Gray is a member of Indigenize OU and said some are still suffering from the trauma of the land runs. And the celebration of Sooners ignores the atrocities that targeted Native Americans, she added.
“This is an epistemic issue. This is an issue of ignorance and our people are invisible in many different ways and “sooner” does not help,” Gray said.
And despite these thoughts she said they aren't trying to change the school's mascot or slogan. She and the student groups that follow just want to acknowledge the past, promote inclusion and offer equality at OU.
Late Friday, President Boren responded with this statement:
"The term sooner has come to transcend its historic meaning. It represents a special spirit of community and excellence here at the University of Oklahoma. There has been virtually no expression of support from alumni for any change."