Unofficial UCO Group Calls Reverse Racism
An Instagram account ran by an anonymous user, UCO Conservative, expressed criticism that the University of Central Oklahoma campus is “an extremely biased one when it comes to politics and race” because it lacks a regular event celebrating Caucasian culture.
The account commented last Wednesday night on an International Student Council Instagram post about a Korean Culture Night hosted by the Korean Consulate in Houston, saying: “The fact that we have all of this but not a Caucasian festival is extreme reverse racism.”
In other comments, the account said that UCO has a Democrat group but when they asked for Republican one, they were shut down. They also said that UCO has an annual Black Male Summit, but nothing for whites.
“UCO is known for its diversity, but it’s racist [if] a white person is proud to be white,” the account owner commented. “That’s. Not. Diversity.”
The Vista reached out to the account owner, who expressed a desire to remain anonymous because “the student body of UCO would not accept the fact that [the owner] is a conservative.”
“We are able to host things such as: Korean Culture Night, Asian Moon Festival and even an event for the Day of the Dead[,] but if a Caucasian person asked or attempted to make an event for said people, it would be considered very racist,” the account owner told The Vista. “I am not against the events I named and the many others, but UCO isn’t truly diverse without it’s many Caucasians.”
David Macey, assistant vice president for Global and Cultural Competencies, said that adding those cultural events like Korean Culture Night does not take away from any other program, but instead adds more depth to the culture the university already has.
“I will say the majority of our core curricular cultural programs [history, sociology, humanities, etc.] look at different aspects of Western, the White, European American and American culture and history,” Macey said. “I don’t think there is any imbalance.”
Macey said that a lot of major festivals on campus come from white culture, such as Thanksgiving, Homecoming and Winterglow. A majority of plays, performances and readings are also from European-American culture.
The account was created in September. The account’s owner said that as he or she does not have many conservative friends, the account was created to connect with conservative students on campus and others around the U.S. via social media.
“Nobody else runs the account with me because I want to stay anonymous,” the account owner said. “I am not a published organization… The only reason I have UCO in my profile picture and name was to hopefully find other people like myself and other students to debate with.”
The account used the UCO logo as their profile picture, but changed the photo over Fall Break. According to the UCO Branding and Graphic Standards Guide, student organizations can create their own logo with the approval of University Communications, but they are not eligible to use official UCO logos as part of their logo or branding.
“UCO Conservative has not requested, nor has been granted permission to use the UCO name or logo,” said Adrienne Nobles, assistant vice president for communications. “It is also not a formally recognized student organization on campus.”
Nobles said that they have reported the account to Instagram for copyright and trademark infringement. Instagram is in the process of reviewing the report and account.
Saying UCO’s campus is biased with politics, the account owner also said that they wanted to start a Young Republicans group because there was not any at the time. However, an advisor told them that it wouldn’t be accepted and that it would not be “wanted or needed by the student body.” The owner declined to give more information about this specific case.
The account owner also said that when they wear a “Make America Great Again” hat while walking on campus, the account owner receives dirty looks and whispers. Some people even come up and call him or her racist and homophobic.
“I have been denied entry into a class unless I took off my [Make America Great Again] hat,” the account owner said. “I have been kicked out of a class for questioning the fact that my professor was being extremely, unacceptably biased in his teaching over history.”
Nobles said the university has no such report on the incident the account owner mentioned. If a student has a complaint or concern regarding their class or professor, Nobles said they should report it to the department chair for the specific class or faculty member.
UCO does have a Republican organization called UCO College Republicans. The organization’s president, Riley Jensen said that they were just established at the beginning of September and that it is a “relatively simple process” to establish one.
Jensen confirmed that neither herself nor the members or the organization itself have any part in the UCO Conservative account.
“I don’t have any experiences as a conservative where I’ve been discriminated against, but I will definitely say that some instructors are verbal about their beliefs and imply other views [are] unwelcome,” Jensen said. “But I don’t really care about that, it’s not something that I let upset me.”