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Top 10 Talon stories of 2019

It has been a busy year for Talon editors and reporters.

The Talon published more than 600 articles throughout 2019. In total, these articles gained upwards of 60,000 unique page views.

As we sit just weeks away from the start of a new decade, here is a look back on the top Talon stories of 2019.

1. Hardeman Auditorium has no official name

Over winter break last year, university administrators decided to remove the name of N.B. Hardeman from Oklahoma Christian University’s main auditorium. Hardeman, a well-known Church of Christ preacher, debater and educator in the early and mid 20th century, allegedly discriminated against black church members.

In late February, the auditorium was renamed Baugh Auditorium in honor of university donors Benton and Paula Baugh. Although not alumni of the university themselves, the Baughs have grandchildren who attend Oklahoma Christian and have contributed millions to the university since 2013.

2. Student expelled after officials find handgun, semiautomatic rifle in their residence

Just days before the start of fall break in mid-October, an Oklahoma Christian student was expelled from campus after university officials discovered multiple firearms in their on-campus residence.

University officials have yet to release the student’s name. Campus police declined to comment shortly after the incident occurred.

3. OC fails to renew tenured faculty member contract

University administrators failed to renew the contract of tenured professor of chemistry Howard Vogel last spring, citing “under-enrollment in the forensic science department and the overarching financial situation of the institution.”

Vogel worked at Oklahoma Christian for 14 years prior to being dismissed. Vogel sat down for an interview with the Talon shortly after learning of his dismissal, in which he stated, “it’s the feeling of not being appreciated, it’s the feeling of not being at home.”

4. Campus police, FBI investigating white supremacist stickers placed on campus

A radical alt-right group placed a series of stickers promoting their beliefs on campus between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, prompting campus police and the FBI to investigate.
The stickers, placed on locations such as the library and Dobson Field, contained a QR code with a link to the group’s website. One sticker found Oct. 7 read “Better Red Than Dead.”

No new stickers have been sighted since this story was published Oct. 8.

5. Massage Parlors: Edmond’s Dark Secret?

In this article, current Co-Features Editor Reese Gorman addresses a possible link between an Edmond massage parlor and a commercial sex trafficking operation.

6. Oklahoma Christian recognizes, apologizes to sit-in participants

Oklahoma Christian held a public ceremony March 7 to honor and apologize to members of the “OC 18” who were arrested and removed from the university for protesting in 1969.

On the morning of March 6, 1969, dozens of students flooded the office of then-president James Baird to protest the college’s dismissal of several students caught staying out past curfew. The students felt the punishment was racially motivated, as white students caught staying out too late were not immediately removed from the college.

Instead of meeting with the president, the 18 students who remained in the office after being told to leave were arrested on trespassing complaints, booked into the Oklahoma County Jail and dismissed from the university. Sixteen of the 18 students were black.

“I am sorry for what occurred in response to you entering Benson Hall on the morning of March 6, 1969,” President John deSteiguer said at the ceremony. “I’m sorry that there wasn’t a spirit of discussion that permitted, that prevailed your audience with the administration in that moment. I’m sorry that the campus climate made some of you feel less than welcome. You should not have not been arrested for trespass, and you should not have been dismissed from your institution.”

7. When hate hits close to home opinion

Days after the deadly El Paso Walmart shooting, Opinions Editor Elise Miller reflected on how she grew up in the same city as the shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crucius.

The editorial goes into racial tension at Plano East High School after the 2016 presidential election and how it is important to elect leaders who are committed to eradicating racism.

8. New guideline calls for 15 student class size requirement

In mid-February, news broke that university administrators would institute a guideline urging deans to allow a course to survive only if at least 15 students enrolled.

In an interview with the Talon, Chief Academic Officer Scott Lamascus stated “a class below 10, in my view, is not an optimum learning opportunity. Fifteen is the number that many elite universities that are highly funded use.”

In a follow-up story published in October, Lamascus said many deans chose to override the guideline. Of 640 classes offered this fall, 146 had 15 or fewer students enrolled.

9. Scot McKnight comments on Christian culture in America

World-renowned New Testament scholar Scot McKnight spoke on the Oklahoma Christian campus Sept. 25, sharing his thoughts on the state of the American church and entanglement of religion and politics.

McKnight encouraged the audience to read the Bible more and become critical thinkers.

10. Q&A with Kendre Talley

Following the resignation of former head men’s basketball Cory Cole, assistant coach Kendre Talley was promoted to the role on an interim basis in April.

In an interview with the Talon shortly after the announcement, Talley shared his goals for the upcoming season and how he transitioned from player to coach.

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