Mike Brake | May 10, 2022
UCO investigates ‘bias, hate, and prejudice’ on campus
The rapid proliferation of bias reporting systems on American college and university campuses raises some basic questions. How many and what kind of incidents are actually reported to such systems? Are all, most, or few of them truly justified?
Until now, researchers curious about bias reporting systems in Oklahoma have had little luck in addressing these questions, especially regarding the University of Oklahoma (OCPA waged a futile multi-year effort to get details about OU’s bias reporting system).
Now, thanks to an open-records request filed by the organization Speech First, we know some details about the bias reporting system at the University of Central Oklahoma. The purpose of UCO’s “Inclusive Community Response Team” is to work with “leaders, offices, and departments across campus to coordinate the university’s response to incidents of bias, hate, and prejudice within the Central community.”
It turns out that just 16 reports have been filed since August of 2020—fewer than one per month.
The first incident report was filed by a faculty member who felt it was “inappropriate” that another professor had referred to COVID-19 as a “China virus,” despite the fact that it did indeed originate in China.
A staff member was upset that during a meeting there was apparently a hack into Zoom that included a drawing of a penis, “vulgar language, sexually explicit content,” and the use of the n-word. The report doesn’t indicate who might have been responsible.
A DACA recipient complained in September of 2020 that the university is “not familiar with the needs of DACA recipients.”
An anonymous reporter claimed that “scholarships are unfairly biased towards people of color.”
Two students complained that a professor “used the n-word with a hard r” in class, though there was no indication of the context. “When in class his mask was also not worn properly,” one student complained.
One UCO faculty member felt it was “inappropriate” that another professor had referred to COVID-19 as a “China virus.”
A parent complained that the football team had unfairly cut black players after the season was canceled due to the pandemic.
A female student whose boyfriend was planning to transfer to UCO from OU said he visited campus wearing an OU-inscribed face mask and was told by a staff member “if you wear the mask again here you won’t be allowed in the office.” Apparently she did not understand the comment as a joke.
One student was intensely irate over the class notes issued by a female professor who put quotation marks around the word “rights” when referring to LGBTQ issues, spelled “Quran” as “Koran,” and referred to Black Lives Matter demonstrations as “riots.” The student suggested that BLM activists should be allowed to engage in violence and property destruction.
A black student was upset that a white said “lock your doors” when the student was seen moving into a campus dormitory.
A staff member reported finding a sticker touting a white supremacist group, Patriot Front, on a campus light post. There was no indication who put it there or if any other student or faculty member even knew what it was.
A Jewish student was upset that a professor did not give him or her more time to complete an assignment missed because of the Yom Kippur holiday.
A reporter was upset after overhearing some men—possibly outside contractors—discussing transgender issues “in the janitor’s closet.” One of the men said “I just don’t understand it” while the other said it is wrong for men identifying as women to be called ma'am.
A female teacher supposedly used the term “faggot” in class and objected to moviemakers making a female role into that of a lesbian.
Another student complained that a professor was less than accommodating on adjusting a grade.
A female teacher noted in class that some female students dressed provocatively to entice better grades from male professors.
Another student griped that a staff member was less grateful than expected when they participated in a campus cleanup project.
Mike Brake is a journalist and writer who recently authored a centennial history of Putnam City Schools. A former reporter at The Oklahoman (his coverage of the moon landing earned a front-page byline on July 21, 1969), he served as chief writer for Gov. Frank Keating and for Lt. Gov. and Congresswoman Mary Fallin. He has also served as an adjunct instructor at OSU-OKC, and currently serves as public information officer for Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan.