University of Oklahoma Disorientation Guide 2009


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University of Oklahoma Disorientation Guide 2009




Norman, Oklahoma

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A People’s History of Our University

Student Integration (1946-1949)
* January 14, 1946 - Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, a Black woman, applied for admission to the OU Law School. She was denied because of her race.
* 1948 - She sued. In Sipuel v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma,
the Supreme Court held that the state must provide equal instruction for
blacks and whites. The state responded by creating a law school at the historically black Langston University, arguing that doing so fulfilled the court's
* 1949 - After challenging the state once again, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was
finally admitted to the OU law school albeit on a segregated basis. She was
made to sit in a chair marked "colored" that was roped off from the rest of
the class.


Faculty Integration (1959)
* Melvin Tolson Jr. was hired as OU's first full-time black professor in 1959.
During his time, he earned the Regents' Award for Excellence in Teaching.
In 2002, the university honored Tolson and colleague George Henderson
Sr. by naming the campus multicultural center in their honor.


Black Peoples Union (1969)
* 1969 - In response to racially-motivated assaults and campus racism, by
both students and faculty, the Black People's Union (now Black Students
Association) was formed. In order to correct these conditions,175 Black
students and sympathizers signed the Black Declaration of Independence.
They protested on campus by picketing, taking over the residence halls and
the President's Office. They eventually met with then president Hollomon,
discussing their campus concerns and delivering to him the signed Declaration.


Vietnam (1968-1970)
* 1968 - FBI forged letters to Oklahoma newspapers in order to derail SDS
at OSU and OU. The organization pretended to be concerned parents and
complained about the immoral actions of SDS.
* May 4, 1970 - In response to Nixon's escalation in Cambodia, OU students damaged the campus ROTC building and firebombed the draft office
in Norman.
* May 6, 1970 - Students called for a general strike to support the antiwar
movement at the University of Oklahoma. Hundreds protested and one
student who displayed a Vietcong flag was arrested under Oklahoma's anticommunist laws. In response to the arrest, almost two thousand protesters
marched on campus and five hundred students occupied multiple campus
buildings to demand changes from the university administration.

Equal Rights Amendment (1981)
* 1981 - In support of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Women's Studies
Student Association passed out fliers to students in the union. Also, a panel
was convened to discuss strategies on how to pass the ERA.

Miss OU Protests (1982)
* 1982 - Norman Woman's Political Caucus and the Women's Studies Student Association organized against the Miss OU pageant. They handed out
fliers and held protest rallies arguing that the pageant supported the objectification of women and the "judging of women like 4-H sheep." They also
argued that such a pageant had no educational value and as such did not
belong at a university.

Take Back the Night (1982)
* October 16, 1982 - In one of many such demonstrations, the Women's
Studies Student Association held a Take Back the Night rally to take direct
action against rape and violence against women.

Edwin DeBarr Name Removal (1988)
* 1988 - Large protests were waged against the name of the DeBarr Chemistry Hall. Students claimed that having a building named after Edwin DeBarr, a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, disgraced the university. As a result of
these protests, the name was changed to the Chemistry Hall.



Tipi Incident (1994)
* March 14, 1994 - Members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity urinated on a
Kiowa tipi erected on campus for American Indian Heritage Week.
* July 4, 1994 - Stephen Selkirk, president of the OU American Indian Student Association, began a hunger strike on the steps of the university's administration building to protest "institutional racism" and the administration's handling of the incident.
* July 21, 1994 - An American Indian rally took place on the north oval outside of Evans Hall in protest of the incident and the administration's lax handling of the perpetrators.
* August 20, 1994 - After 47 days, having lost 50 pounds, Stephen Selkirk
met with OU interim president J.R. Morris to discuss his grievances.
* August, 31, 1994 - Stephen Selkirk ended his 58-day hunger strike proclaiming "My goal was to call attention and national attention to Native

Genocide in Darfur (2005)
* November 14, 2005 - Students for Action in Darfur demonstrated in the
south oval of campus, marching with signs and shouting from loud speakers.
The purpose of the demonstration was to draw attention to the genocide
in Darfur and US policymakers apparent apathy to the humanitarian crisis.
The demonstration motivated 700 students to sign postcards urging lawmakers to act.

Israel's Assault on Gaza (2009)
* February 2, 2009 - Students from Sooners for Peace in Palestine demonstrated in front of the Bizzell Memorial Library to draw attention to Israel's
escalation of violence in Gaza. In this demonstration, they asked people to
sign a petition concerning humanitarian issues in Gaza. The petition was
sent to Oklahoma senators to draw awareness to the ongoing crisis.

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