July 13, 2020: Statement Regarding Incident Effecting LGBTQIA+ Community
Diversity Round Table Statements
August 31, 2020
As the Diversity Round Table (DRT), we value four core pillars: building a safe community for underrepresented peoples within our country, celebrating the unique cultures in today’s society, educating the Central community about issues regarding diversity and inclusion within our society, and advocating for those who have been historically targeted for being themselves. We call these our CACE (Celebrate, Advocate, Community, Educate) principles. These principles guide us in making the Central community one where everyone feels supported in their pursuit to express themselves and live the way they are, without persecution or danger.
The Student Alliance for Equality (SAFE), along with some concerned student leaders, brought to our attention an egregious crime that happened involving a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. This crime involved UCO alumni in both the victim and perpetrator roles. Although the person affected is no longer a UCO student, it saddens us to see this news, especially in today’s world. We not only condemn the assault on Christian, but all actions that have affected the LGBTQIA+ community. These actions include: assaults on and the loss of life by those who identify as LGBTQIA+; the continued political assault on LGBTQIA+ peoples’ basic human rights, and so much more. No one should ever be targeted for being themselves.
Although a local news outlet has stated that arrests were made, no one was charged. We hope that justice prevails amid all this chaos. Although there are still many questions involving this case, we can band together to help Christian Council in this troubling time. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with some of the medical costs that have resulted from this attack; a link is provided at the end of this statement. We ask you to donate, if you can, and to share this link through social media. We can also push for change, as we all have been doing for the past month: change to create a society, and a community, in which everyone feels safe to express their truths. We look inward to what we can change to achieve this goal as a university. We see multiple areas where we feel change is necessary and possible.
To begin, we call on Leadership Central to include a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion module for the Leaders of Tomorrow and the President’s Leadership Council. We feel that those who are considered our future leaders must have a deep understanding of equity and inclusion within the diverse landscape of today’s society. We encourage Leadership Central to reach out to us (DRT), to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and to our Diversity Peer Educators to assist in the creation and implementation of this module.
Next, we call on Student Engagement to expand the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sessions they offer to incoming freshmen, during Forge. As freshmen begin their journey at UCO, they should not only be introduced to the diverse student body we have at UCO, but should also be equipped with the tools to have constructive conversations concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can work to change the campus climate immensely by starting the conversation early in a student’s college career.
Finally, we call on Student Engagement and the Homecoming Activities Board to change the wording concerning homecoming royalty. Currently the wording within the Homecoming Playbook section on Royalty uses the gender binary approach. It uses the term “He” or “She” eight times, in the requirements for running for royalty, and it employs the terms “King” and “Queen.” Student Engagement is meant to represent the entire student population, but this section of the playbook contradicts that belief. Homecoming is an event at which all students, including non-binary and gender queer students, should be able to take part in every activity they wish without questioning whether they fit the requirements, especially with regard to gender. We ask that Student Engagement replace the terms “King” & “Queen” with more inclusive terms such as “Broncho/Central Royalty” or “Broncho/Central Court”, and also replace “He” or “She” with “the student.”
We ask the students of UCO, both those who are involved with DRT and those who are not, to join us in this call for change so that we may create a community at Central that is inclusive and safe for everybody. We need your support! The assault earlier this week did not happen on the UCO campus, but a UCO alumnus was involved in this crime. We know that people on campus have different beliefs, but that shouldn’t hinder us as we strive for an equitable and just society. Together, we have a voice that we can use to change positively the way underrepresented people are treated.
The Diversity Round Table(DRT)
American Association of University Women (AAUW) | Asian American Student Association (AASA) | Black Student Association (BSA) | National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) | Native American Student Association (NASA) | Hispanic American Student Association (HASA) | Student Alliance For Equality (SAFE)