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Outrage at OU After Sorority Member Films Racist Blackface Video


Two students at the University of Oklahoma (OU) have been implicated in a racist video that has students, school administrators and even sorority officials outraged.

In the video, a white woman wearing blackface and black paint on her hands says, “I am a [n-word].” As the offensive words are uttered, another white woman at her side engages in some raucous laughter.

“I could never imagine being so insensitive especially in a time when it’s obviously not okay, you’re an adult, you know right from wrong,” sophomore Sofia Olivas told local NBC affiliate KFOR.

Other students registered their disapproval as well.

“As a woman of color, I’m hurt by the whole thing,” senior Janae Reeves said.

“It doesn’t make sense to me as a human being why they would think that kind of behavior is okay,” junior Marisa Nuzzo told the outlet.

The university quickly issued a statement after the Snapchat video went viral:

We have been made aware of an inappropriate and derogatory video circulating on social media posted by an OU student. The University of Oklahoma abhors such conduct and condemns the students’ actions and behavior in the strongest terms possible. While students have the freedom of expression, the negative impact on such conduct cannot be underestimated. The university is following up with the students. Our goal is to be a welcoming and inclusive community and we condemn any behavior whose goal is to diminish or belittle other members of the OU community.

The student body, however, wasn’t quite wowed by OU’s official response.

“We don’t want an apology,” she told KFOR. “We want action.”

“It’s not enough,” Nuzzo insisted. “If they think they can say what they want with little to no consequences, nothing will change.”

One of the white women in the video–the one without blackface on–has been identified as a member of the Tri Delta sorority. The sorority later confirmed that the member in question is Francie Ford and said that they planned to investigate the incident.

“Founded as a society that shall be kind alike to all, Tri Delta deeply regrets the insensitive and offensive actions of one of our members,” a statement from OU Tri Delta chapter president London Moore said. “We are diligently working with the University, our volunteers and our Executive Office staff to investigate the incident and take appropriate action to hold our member accountable. We understand the concerns that this raises within the campus community and beyond and will prioritize our efforts to live kind and lead kind as Tri Delta women and as part of the larger OU community.”

The OU Daily is reporting that the student in blackface is Olivia Urban.

Students interviewed by KFOR said they expect and hope the girls in the video will be expelled.

In 2015, former OU president David Boren shut down the university chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon over a racist video and told the students involved to permanently vacate the campus within 24 hours.

“For President [James] Gallogly to do the complete opposite [of Boren], and to allow these students to stay on our campus, it just sends a message,” said Reeves. “If it happens again, we’ll get a statement, we’ll get an apology, and that’ll be it.”

[image via screengrab/KFOR/Snapchat]

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