Two racist incidents at OU following Trump election among handful reported in Oklahoma

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Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Tulsa earlier this year. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Less than a week after Donald Trump became president-elect, and at a time when racial tensions across the nation are high, the University of Oklahoma has found itself facing its second race-related incident since the election.

On Monday morning, a University of Oklahoma professor shared photos of racist fliers found in the Physical Science Center at OU.

Kathleen Crowther, an associate professor of the history of science, posted a photo on Twitter of a flier titled “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men,” with the hashtag “yOUr bad.”

The flier states statistics on women being more likely to be abused by black men, black men having lower IQs and being more likely to carry STDs.

Crowther’s colleagues also found fliers titled “Race and Intelligence: the Facts.” The poster lists reasons why intelligence varies based on race.

Crowther said she was “pretty furious” when she found the flier. She found the first poster this morning and two of her colleagues soon found two more. They removed the fliers before most classes started. 

“We were all just really upset,” she said. 

Crowther said she’s thankful for activist groups around campus who brought more attention to the fliers and spoke up against them. 

The OU Daily, the university’s newspaper, said on Monday that students had reported finding copies of the fliers placed inside the day’s newspapers.

In a statement emailed Monday afternoon, a university spokesman said the school doesn’t condone the posters and fliers.

“They are contrary to one of the university core values of acceptance and respect of all people,” the statement said. “The university if currently looking into the origin of these posters.

“The posters are being removed and anyone seen putting them up should be reported to OUPD.”

This is the second racist incident linked to the University of Oklahoma in the past week.

A student at the University of Oklahoma has been temporarily suspended while the university investigates racist messages sent to several black University of Pennsylvania freshmen.

Penn students were added to a GroupMe message last week, called “Mud Men” that included references to lynching, racial slurs and messages such as “Trump is love.” GroupMe is a social media phone app that lets users communicate via text with large groups, which people can be added to without their consent.

In a letter released Friday, University of Pennsylvania’s president, vice president and provost called the messages “simply deplorable.”

“We are absolutely appalled that earlier today Black freshman students at Penn were added to a racist GroupMe account that appears to be based in Oklahoma,” the letter states. “The account itself is totally repugnant: it contains violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages.”

University of Oklahoma President David Boren released a statement Friday night saying the school wouldn’t tolerate racism or hate speech.

“It would appear this matter did not originate at the University of Oklahoma, but started elsewhere,” Boren said. “This matter originally surfaced from messages to students at the University of Pennsylvania.”

The University of Pennsylvania launched a criminal investigation into the incident and determined no Penn students were involved.

In a statement released Sunday, the university said it appears three students from Oklahoma were found to be linked to the GroupMe message. One of those students was found to be linked to the University of Oklahoma.

The statements also said several Penn staff members are offering support to students who were targeted by the racist messages. The university contacted all deans Sunday, telling them to ensure faculty are sensitive and responsive to students.

“Finally, we call on everyone to recognize that the events of the past few days are a tragic reminder of the overt and reprehensible racism that continues to exist within some segments of our society, and that we all need to unite together as a community and a society to oppose,” the statement said.

On Monday, Boren released yet another statement via his personal Twitter account, saying “Above all a university must be a community of learners where we love and respect each other even if we have differing opinions.”

“There will never be a place at this university for expressions of hate and bigotry,” Boren said in the statement.

It’s not the first time in recent memory that OU has faced national scrutiny due to on-campus racist incidents.

In March 2015, the campus’ Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter was disbanded by its national organization after some of its fraternity members were recorded singing a racist song about never letting a black person in their fraternity. Boren said he expelled two students, Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, who appeared to be most visible in the recording, though an attorney later said the two students withdrew on their own.

Less than a month after the incident, Boren appointed former Oklahoma state legislator Jabar Shumate as vice president for the university community. Eventually, each of OU’s colleges created similar positions.

And the racist fallout to Trump’s victory apparently hasn’t been confined to OU’s campus. In Midwest City, a bi-racial couple reportedly had “TRUMP” spray-painted on their garage days after the election.

And in Norman, a black woman said she was leaving Walmart last week when a pickup full of people began shouting racial slurs at her, and tossed cups of tobacco spit on her as she reached her vehicle.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported there has been more than 200 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation across the country as of Friday at 5 p.m. Less than five of those incidents were reported to have happened in Oklahoma.

The majority of the reported incidents occurred Wednesday, the day after the election. Reports have been slowing down since Election Day.

SPLC is a non-profit organization that tracks hate crimes and hate groups across the country.

To collect the data, SPLC pulled news reports, social media and direct submissions to the SPLC website. Not all incidents were independently verified, and not all involved the Trump campaign.

The incidents range from anti-black, to anti-women, to anti-LGBT. More than 50 of the reported incidents involved harassment or intimidation against black people. Anti-immigration incidents occurred more than 40 times, followed by anti-Muslim incidents.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations released statistics Monday showing hate crimes were up from 2014 nearly seven percent nationwide last year, a figure mostly due to a stunning 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims.

A category labeled “Trump” included more than 10 incidents not targeted toward any specific group, such as “the pro-Trump vandalism of a ‘unity’ sign in Connecticut.” The SPLC also received about 10 reports on anti-Trump harassment and vandalism.

During a “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday, Trump told his supporters to stop harassing minorities.

“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump said. “And I say ‘Stop it.’ If it — If it helps, I will say this, and I’ll say it right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”

Trump said he was surprised to hear of the incidents targeting minorities following his election as president. Trump continued to say he’s only heard of one or two incidents and it’s “a very small amount.”

Despite his statements, some racist groups appear undeterred. The KKK, whose former leader is a strong Trump supporter, announced it would hold a victory parade in North Carolina, one of the swing states crucial to the republican’s election-night victory.

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Kassie McClung

Staff writer

Contact: Kassie@readfrontier.com or 918-935-1044.
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