UCOSA Assures that UCO is a Safe Place

UCOSA Assures that UCO is a Safe Place

In response to hate crimes across the nation, the UCO Student Association recently passed a bill promoting diversity and acceptance on campus.

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Student Association passed bill CR16-105 on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 during the weekly meeting in the Nigh University Center. The bill encourages diversity on campus and acceptance of all race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or political belief. Photo by Cara Johnson, The Vista. 

The University of Central Oklahoma Student Association (UCOSA) passed legislation to further promote acceptance of student diversity on campus during their weekly meeting in the Will Rogers Room on Monday Nov. 21 by reaffirming UCOSA’s dedication to campus diversity because of recent hate crimes around the nation.

Members of UCOSA, UCO’s student government, wanted to assure students that UCO is a safe place that is meant to protect and accept all of its population.

They hoped to accomplish that through passing bill CR16-105, which states, “The UCO Student Congress affirms that it will continue to support and represent the students of the University of Central Oklahoma regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and political affiliation.”

Caleb Shaw, the Student Congress chair, said that the new bill aligned directly with UCOSA’s policies and ideals.

“UCOSA will also enable the students, faculty and administration of the University of Central Oklahoma to strive for the betterment of the University and the welfare of all concerned,” the UCOSA Orgsync page says.

After the results of the recent presidential election, the presence of hate crimes in the media has increased. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal organization that specializes in civil rights, within the week following the election there have been over 700 reported hate crimes in America.

“UCOSA is the voice for all our students and with recent events and some unpleasant occurrences on other campuses, we just want to assure to the UCO student populous that we will continue to speak for everybody,” Caroline Reckner, chair for the Academic Affairs Board under UCOSA, said.

Recently, according to a Washington Post article, a University of Oklahoma (OU) student was suspended for possible participation in racist messaging to black freshman at the University of Pennsylvania that included pictures of people hung from trees, racial slurs and what was called a “daily lynching” calendar.

Within the same week, white supremacist flyers were found around the OU campus, as reported on the OU Daily website.

Reckner said that the legislation was made to comfort students that may worry about hate crimes like this affecting them on campus.

Na’eemah Phanelson, member of the Human Diversity Board under UCOSA, said that many UCO faculty, staff and students are upset because of the results of the election, as well as the recent hate crimes.

“We’re just putting out a statement to let them know that as UCOSA, as, you know, the representation of the student body,” Phanelson said, “that we do support them, that we do understand, that we have resources for them to go to if they feel they need those things.”

Aside from CR16-105, UCOSA discussed two other bills. One was CR16-106 to request the creation of an online newsletter specifically for UCO graduate students, faculty and staff. The newsletter would highlight the work and success of the members of the Jackson School of Graduate Studies.

The other bill, CFR16-104, outlined the distribution of funds toward several campus organizations.

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