The University of Oklahoma is once again embroiled in controversy in less than two weeks after a second professor used a racial slur in class on Monday morning.
During her lecture, history professor Kathleen Brosnan issued a "trigger warning" to her students before reading aloud from a 1920's U.S. Senate document that repeatedly mentioned the N-word.
Earlier in February, Peter Gade—a Journalism Ethics and Democracy professor—equated the phrase "OK Boomer" with the N-word by uttering the actual word in front of the class.
"We are all weary of racially charged incidents occurring within our university community," wrote Harroz Jr., before explaining the professor's ill-advised class conduct.
"The professor, a faculty member in History read from a historical document that used the 'N-word' repeatedly."
"While she could have made the point without reciting the actual word, she chose otherwise."
@thehill Context is everything— Senator John Blutarsky (@Senator John Blutarsky)1582649429.0
@JBlutarsky4Pres @thehill It is but they have to know you just can't say that under any context. Especially these days.— DΛMIΣП 🇺🇸 (@DΛMIΣП 🇺🇸)1582649775.0
The OU President continued:
"Her issuance of a 'trigger warning' before her recitation does not lessen the pain caused by the use of the word."
"For students in the class, as well as members of our community, this was another painful experience."
"It is common sense to avoid uttering the most offensive word in the English language, especially in an environment where the speaker holds the power."
The first time was disappointing enough.
@treyingram90 @UofOklahoma https://t.co/PPQcyYEJ7m— bryson (@bryson)1582603108.0
@TheRoot the second time in two weeks? no no no its happened WAY more than that, just done in private instead of the general public.— FuckBadCops (@FuckBadCops)1582675379.0
@UofOklahoma As an OU alum I am so embarrassed. We cannot keep making excuses for such behavior I’m interested to s… https://t.co/fqIqqUt4rg— Coach Coppage (@Coach Coppage)1582597544.0
People demanded proper leadership in order to prevent a perpetual problem.
@UofOklahoma This is a leadership problem!! I don’t think the answer is to never utter the word again, especially s… https://t.co/tSsiZsfW4Z— RightOfCenter (@RightOfCenter)1582588537.0
@UofOklahoma If there are no consequences, this is likely to keep repeating.— Ahmonny (@Ahmonny)1582591414.0
@thehill Should have never been said in the first place. Considering a professor should be educated, this school… https://t.co/NS9EPAsEU8— Just passing through (@Just passing through)1582649604.0
It is simple as this:
Just stop using the damn word. #OU #UniversityofOklahoma https://t.co/aSy7UTNyJK— Randell Baze (@Randell Baze)1582659724.0
So here’s the thing about this... it’s bad practice in general. We can learn about horrible historical past without… https://t.co/lV40WOeoX9— Quan Phan, M.Ed (@Quan Phan, M.Ed)1582678997.0
In response to the fallout, all OC faculty, staff and administration members will undergo required diversity, equity and inclusion training.
"While it is unfortunate that another incident would occur before we could roll out this action plan, we are resolute in addressing these matters with decisive action."
After being fed up over the two incidents involving professors using the racial slur, students responded by organizing a sit-in hunger strike at the university's administration building, Evans Hall, on Wednesday.
Demands include: -A multicultural center on campus -A semester-long class instead of the current diversity training… https://t.co/MTV6RUOaw4— Emma Keith (@Emma Keith)1582726207.0
https://t.co/joFHuEzMkD— BERT (@BERT)1582733085.0
I am on a hunger strike and I will sit here in this place, until @BERT_OU demands are met. @UofOklahoma we are done… https://t.co/hvxq1Ohw8b— Jamelia R. Reed (@Jamelia R. Reed)1582728586.0
“If they’re not at work or they’re not in class, tell them to get here.” BERT member Destinee Dickson just exited… https://t.co/9MDbAMCOHd— Blake Douglas 🎩 (@Blake Douglas 🎩)1582739972.0
My friends should not have to be student activists AND full-time students because of OUr university’s inaction to d… https://t.co/mN8LGQnJnJ— Javi (@Javi)1582728860.0
Following the backlash, Brosnan apologized in a letter sent to The Daily by a student in her class and explained she never intended for her words to be hurtful.
"I am concerned that the words I quoted in class yesterday were hurtful. I want to apologize to all of you personally. Please know that this was never my intention."
"By directly quoting a US senator, James Reed, I wanted all the students in class to recognize an ugliness in US history that is unfortunately still part of some students' lived experience."
"I also recognize that apologizing in advance for the offensive language and placing it in this historical context did not alleviate the injury. And for that I am deeply sorry."
Peter Gade, the journalism professor who made the comparison between "Ok Boomer" and the racial slur earlier in February stepped down for the rest of the semester and wrote a letter of apology to his students immediately following the incident.
"I will strive to show you that I am an instructor and teacher who is trustworthy and respectful of all."
While apologies are admirable, all eyes will be on OU to witness the effectiveness of their "decisive action" plan.