We the students write humbly to OC, not out of arrogance or self-righteousness, but out of the earnest desire to see the Home we love change for the better. We are inexpressibly proud to call our university “Home,” but we wish to alert the university of our hope for OC particularly concerning race and diversity.
Students see that it is all too common to complete an OC education without deeply engaging racial issues, even though understanding race is a crucial element of well-rounded Christian service and scholarship. We propose that OC inject racially diverse perspectives into general education courses such as composition, western civilization and communications, punctuated by a minority McBride Lecturer in the fall semester to give all OC students the opportunity to engage racial issues in their first semester of school, regardless of major. The impact of this content would be multiplied by strengthening and publicizing the diversity content that already exists in all academic courses and in spiritual life programming.
Another immediate change we propose is that OC students be given greater access to the Civil Rights Tour by adding tour dates outside of spring break, so that OC students are not forced to choose between the Civil Rights Tour and mission trips or family vacations. These experiences are all indispensable in the education of committed Christians, and should not be mutually exclusive.
We note the extreme importance of having minority faculty members as role models and mentors to all students on racial issues, but despite OC’s best efforts, there remain very few faculty who can help OC students learn about racial issues as a part of their unapologetically Christian education. Consideration of qualified candidates from the broader Christian community for positions especially (but not exclusively) in general education colleges such as the Bible college and new programs such as the new criminal and social justice degree will address this imbalance. We hope that amending OC’s hiring process in this way will lead to the proportional representation of the minority faculty and staff that OC students crave.
We commend OC for being a school that cares deeply about diversity, as proven by its existing Diversity Plan, History Speaks and the leadership of Gary Jones; however, we ask that OC prioritize the Diversity Plan’s funding. We are thrilled with these changes and eager for more! Finally, we wish to express thanks to all OC faculty, staff, and administrators — we know that your jobs are not easy, and we know how much you give to make OC our Home. Thank you for making OC the type of Home that is unafraid to change and is always willing to listen to its students. We earnestly await your response, the beginning of a new journey between OC and its students.
The Following Students of Oklahoma Christian University