Clara Luper Memorialized in Nigh Center

Clara Luper Memorialized in Nigh Center

Room 312 in the Nigh University Center will soon be renamed the “Clara Luper Room”, memorializing the female civic leader, schoolteacher, and pioneer in the American Civil Rights Movement. Photo by Ryan Naeve, The Vista. 

The Nigh University Center’s Room 312 will become the Clara Luper Room, the first conference room in the building to be named after an African-American.

Resolution CFR16-103 would pull $25,000 out of the Permanent Reserve Fund to renovate the room to meet the standards of other conference rooms in the Nigh, according to section one of the resolution.

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Student Congress passed the resolution Monday, Nov. 7 during their weekly meeting.  The resolution was co-written by Elsa Ruiz, UCO Sophomore and Human Diversity Committee Chair and Jordan Broiles, UCO Sophomore and Press Secretary of UCOSA, as well as former Black Student Association president.

“We chose her [Clara Luper] because she was a woman who helped minorities as a whole,” Broiles said.

Clara Luper was born in Okfuskee County in Oklahoma and was a leader during the American Civil Rights Movement.

Luper was also a schoolteacher who went to Langston University and the University of Oklahoma. She is most known for her role in the 1958 Oklahoma City sit-in movement.

The idea to create the room started over five years ago in the Black Student Association, said Broiles. Broiles had decided last year when he was the president of BSA to take the project under his wing and had been working towards its completion since.

Broiles asked Ruiz for help since she was a part of UCOSA Student Congress and could bring it to the floor during a weekly meeting.

Some of the remodeling will include new woodwork and lighting as well as new whiteboards, according to Broiles.

The Nigh University Center also donated $5,000 to the project idea which is both Ruiz’s and Broiles’ first resolution to bring onto the floor of UCOSA Student Congress.

“I just thought that it was something that needed to happen on campus… It represents more than just the white student population on campus,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz and Broiles worked with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as well as Diversity Round Table to build support for the resolution across campus.

“I was very proud of them… I think they had a mission and a vision in place… and they found a way to implement that on campus,” MeShawn Conley said, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“We need to remember that the Clara Luper Room is not just an accomplishment for the Black Student Association, but it’s a movement for all students on campus,” Conley said.

Renovations will start once Ruiz and Broiles find a company that can do the project under that amount of money allotted to the project, according to Stockton Duvall, vice-chair of UCOSA Student Congress.

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