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Message from the President: Diversity & Inclusion Task Force

by President Robert Henry

I have been informed of what appears to be a clearly offensive and unacceptable post on social media that may have been posted by an individual or group of individuals who are affiliated with Oklahoma City University. In response, I have initiated formal complaint procedures under our university policy concerning actions that constitute discrimination, harassment, sexual violence and/or retaliation in order to properly investigate and respond to this matter.  The University Compliance Coordinator, Joey Croslin, will complete an investigation under the policy, and will pursue the appropriate remedies for all parties involved. The policy can be found at www.okcu.edu/admin/hr/policies/.

It is disturbingly ironic that this kind of incident would arise on the eve of our own celebration of our Native American cultures this Monday.  I hope that this will cause us to spend more time to reflect on the contributions of all members of our society to the “melting pot” that is our country.  Our native peoples, and our immigrants of each culture have created the unique diversity that represents America and has strengthened us in remarkable ways.

Oklahoma City University policies call for a ”zero-tolerance” policy for discrimination, harassment, retaliation or violence. To fulfill our commitment to provide our students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors a community free from discriminatory behavior, we must swiftly and purposefully investigate any possibly inappropriate conduct that undermines our pledge to promote and protect proper values.  Our faculty, staff, and students include many leaders in the struggles for human rights both here and abroad.

Our academic institution has a duty to educate not only in academics but in moral conduct. When confronted with evidence of a deep need for teaching, we must respond to the opportunity carefully and properly. To that end, today I am announcing the creation of a university-wide diversity and inclusion task force. The task force will include administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and will be responsible for creating academic programming for all university stakeholders to further the development of our campus cultural competence. Multiculturalism is a cornerstone of our diverse city, and we must engage in educational programming to fulfill our calling to produce educated and thoughtful servant leaders. Additional details of the task force will be forthcoming, and I welcome any suggestions that will ensure its success.

As members of this campus community, we share the responsibility of fostering inclusiveness in every university program.  We are interested in, and committed to, civic virtue.  I encourage every person on our campus to report concerning conduct to our compliance coordinator, in accordance with university policy. We must commit to each other to cultivate a community climate that stands against divisive action.

Sincerely,

Robert Henry, President