Campus protestors at the University of Oklahoma are demanding the sexual assault prevention program “One Sooner” be renamed, charging its incorporation of a long-time state description actually references violence against Native Americans.
The program, which is facilitated by the campus Gender + Equality center, aims to re-educate students to “use their influence on campus to prevent sexual assault and misconduct.”
One campus protestor, an OU junior named Micah Stove, said the name wasn’t inclusive enough “for a program that really does need to be very inclusive to be very effective,” the OU Daily reports.
Protestors’ assertion that “Sooner” is offensive to Native Americans is an odd claim, considering the origins of the term. It started as a derogatory term against white settlers who rushed to grab up land claims before the government officially said then-unclaimed territory was available during the 1889 Land Rush.
Objecting students have yet to settle on a new name for the program, but they are sure they want “One Sooner” to be gone — so sure, in fact, they’ve included the name change in a list of demands.
The demands are in response to OU President David Boren’s comments on sexual assault in an article published by the student newspaper earlier this month. In the article, Boren repeatedly acknowledged preventing sexual assault is very important and that students ought to look out for one another and be careful to not put themselves into dangerous situations on campus.
“We try to really train students about (sexual violence), and you try to also say, ‘Don’t get yourself in a situation where you’re incapable of saying no,’” Boren said. “Can we eradicate the problem? Not any more than we can eradicate human nature.”
Students interpreted Boren’s comments to mean that he was blaming victims of sexual assault. Campus protestors are insisting that he issue a public apology beginning with the words “I believe you” and “it’s not your fault,” or resign.
“Boren’s apology must include the phrase ‘I am sorry,’ because this is how apologies work,” the fourth item on the list of demands dictates.
Event organizer Kelsey Morris is reading her list of demands, saying they should be followed or Boren should resign pic.twitter.com/e4gFhECpnU
— Daisy Creager (@daisycreager) October 11, 2016
Boren met with the group of disaffected students last week, and issued a statement saying the meeting was “productive” but he has yet to either apologize or resign.
Ironically, the University of Oklahoma’s teams are the Sooners, so changing the name of the sexual assault prevention group can’t erase the term “Sooner” from the school, its athletic teams, or Oklahoma’s history.