‘Demands Not Met’: OU Sit-In Continues Amid Negotiations


Thursday, February 27th 2020, 6:46 pm
By: Storme Jones


The doors to the University of Oklahoma’s Evans Hall administration building have been locked for a second straight evening with student protestors still inside.

The university is letting students and media leave the building, however, only faculty and staff will be allowed to reenter until Friday morning at 8 a.m.

Eight members of the Black Emergency Response Team (BERT) student group said they remain on a hunger strike. Dozens of other students are occupying the halls, desks and offices throughout the building.

Students met for 45 minutes at an undisclosed on-campus location with the school’s vice president for diversity, dean of students and the provost.

“Our demands still have not been met. So, we will continue to do a sit-in, continue to be on a hunger strike till all of our demands are met,” BERT Leader Jamelia Reed said Thursday afternoon.

At the top of the list of demands is the resignation of provost Kyle Harper. They are also asking for mandatory training for all faculty, a semester long diversity class for students and a three-story multicultural center with amenities including free printing, a dance studio and a Popeye's restaurant.

 

The university issued a statement saying they have agreed to mandatory training for faculty and staff, a plan to implement a diversity class for students and increased mental health services.

Over the past two and a half weeks, the university said two professors have used the “n-word.”

The most recent, a history professor said it while reading from historical documents. The university still said it was offensive.

The OU Faculty Senate leadership released a statement Thursday saying, "We have an intellectual and moral obligation to our students in their learning as they navigate this struggle."

They note, “specific policy concerning attendance requirements… is the responsibility of the individual instructor.”

The following additional statement was released by the university Thursday evening:

 

The protesting students have followed strict orders from BERT leadership to not speak with the media.