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Faculty and staff at two U. Oklahoma colleges to ‘unlearn’ racism, sexism, other -isms

Two colleges at the University of Oklahoma are jumping into the “gotta do something because George Floyd” fray and will require all faculty and staff to under diversity and inclusion training.

The Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy and the Gallogly College of Engineering made the announcement the first week of June.

The dean of the former, J. Mike Stice, formalized the decision in a somewhat poetic letter.

“Here at the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, we are accustomed to contemplating change in geologic time,” Stice’s letter begins. “As we wind back the clock to study the history of the Earth, we think in terms of centuries, millennia and beyond. But some things should not be slow. Our response to racism is one of them.”

Stice goes on to “acknowledge the tragic reality of racism faced by our African American friends,” and says he and his college stand with protesters in saying “no more.”

“Let us make the change now by enacting positive changes today,” the dean proclaims before announcing the following initiatives:

In the Mewbourne College, all faculty and staff will be required to take the Unlearning series, which addresses subjects like racism, classism and sexism.

In Fall 2020, we will resume our Inclusion and Diversity Committee Book Club where small groups of faculty and staff learn together by reading a book about diversity and inclusion. By making this a local issue, we hope to make meaningful change and to become brothers and sisters, regardless of the color of our skin.

While our College boasts diversity in terms of international students, our domestic diversity is severely lacking. I’ve often wondered how our college can be so beautifully representative of the world, but not of our own state and nation? I am committed to redoubling efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students, particularly African Americans. We are committed to also identifying tangible issues experienced by underrepresented students, faculty and staff at the College, and will endeavor to solve problems with expediency.

We have created a webpage with resources to help each of us educate ourselves and proactively address racism and bias.

The noted webpage reveals further “Resources for Alumni, Industry and the Community” of Mewbourne College, one of which is a link by which to obtain “the book [they’re] reading for the semester.”

That book? “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.

Read the full letter.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.