Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Name Conspiracy

Caitlyn Hutchison, Honors College Senior.

Caitlyn Hutchison, Honors College senior, on the new name.

Jennifer Wilt, Honors College Freshman, on the new name.

The University of Oklahoma's Honor College has recently adopted a new name and some students disagree with the change.

The building is now labeled under the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College, named after the parents of donor Aubrey McClendon, who gave the single largest donation in honors college history.

Some students have begun to worry about what this name change means after an article was released in the Oklahoma Daily revealing a petition started by the Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, to have the name changed.

These students worry that the name change is challenging the principles of the college itself.

“In my opinion, the McClendon name shouldn’t be put on the Honors College building,” Nick Stanley, Honors College Freshman and SDS treasurer said. “Given McClendon’s past dealings, both in business and philanthropic works, I think his name directly contradicts the values, ethics and goals of the Honors College.”

McClendon has become well known for his business dealings and politics. According to an article by the Seattle Times McClendon, with business partner Tom Ward, donated over one-million dollars to and anti-gay organization, Americans United to Preserve Marriage.

“I think they should change the Honors College name back to David L. Boren, because I could see where it is offensive to some people,” Jennifer Wilt, Honors College freshman, said.
The SDS had brought up the petition after months of requesting information on the change, according to Stanley.

“It is the largest donation in Honors College history and officials weren’t releasing any information about it,” Stanley said. “We were asking people about it for months with no response and heard nothing. We put out the petition because we wanted more transparency.”

The article in the Oklahoma Daily created a large backlash against the organization because of the quotes given by SDS president, Sean Hughes, against McClendon.

After the article was published each party involved with the story: Students for a Democratic Society, Aubrey McClendon, and President David Boren each released a statement which were never published in print further explaining their position on the issue at hand.

Hughes explained that he had not realized that he was going to be quoted when his comments were made and that they weren’t a fair representation of SDS, but instead his personal opinions.

“After the story came out in the “Daily” people thought we were pompous left wing university liberals,” said Stanley. “It isn’t political. It is about the values and ethics of our university and preserving them.”

“We want to create an atmosphere where students can have a stake in the university, where they are apart of their education,” Stanley said.

This isn’t the first time OU has adopted the name of a business leader to their colleges. The name ‘Gaylord’ is plastered all over campus walls, including the college of journalism and the football stadium. Gaylord is famous for his right-wing conservatism and bias in his newspaper in Oklahoma City.

Some students don’t see how this name change is different than any other and only see it as a business deal.

“You have to follow the money, and the fact that the Honors College didn’t have a name attached, it is expected that its name would change to the appropriate donor,” Kristyn Wagner, Honors College senior and non-profit organization studies minor, said.

“OU has never pandered to their donors,” Wagner said. “OU does values based funding. For instance, here at OU one of our core values is academic freedom so our donors fund us based on matching core values. The donors and institutions work together to find the best fit for each other. The university taking this contribution just means that it was the right fit between the donor and organization.”

This sudden change leaves some students confused on their feelings.

“I don’t know what I want to see happen,” Caitlyn Hutchison, Honors College senior, said. “I would like to believe in the integrity of the Honors College and that a businessman couldn’t influence the way the professors are teaching. But I think that is a na├»ve view.”

As for what happens next, no one is sure. However OU has been known to change the names of buildings because of damaging reputations before.

According to the history of the Black Student Association, OU changed the name Debarr Chemistry Building to the Physical Sciences Center after learning of Edwin Debarr’s association with the Klu Klux Klan. Meaning that perhaps the University will see the need of a reversal in the name change.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Behind the scenes of "Super Size Me"

Morgan Spurlock came to speak at OU this week and students were able to meet the man that started the American health revolution.

Morgan Spurlock is an award winning filmmaker most famous for his movie "Super Size Me" and his show "30 Days" came to OU this last week. He spoke about how he came up with his ideas and how the industry received him.

"It was Thanksgiving 2002 when I was sitting on my mom's couch when I came up with the idea for 'Super Size Me,' which is very fitting and ironic," Spurlock said.

CAC's next big event will be presented by Film Series with their annual OU Student Film Festival on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in Meacham Auditorium.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Friday

Some students are disappointed that they weren't released from classes on Good Friday to visit home.

Students aren't being released from classes for Good Friday, to be able to go home for Easter. This is a religous holiday and many think that because we have classes it is witholding them from their religion.

"I am from Houston and I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to go home and visit my family for Easter," Sarah Fickes said. "I know many other students felt the same way I do."

There will be no change in schedule for the religous holiday, classes will take place on Monday, April 13, 2009 as usual.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Campus has Been Invaded

The National Forensics League has taken over the OU campus and students have the chance to see debate and acting in the heat of competition.

The Oklahoma National Forensics League, or better known as speech and debate, is using the campus for their annual district tournament. The organization is composed of high school students and the competitive categories include: humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, Lincoln Douglas debate, and extemporaneous speaking, just to name a few.

"I think it is great that they host this here," Heather Hall, former NFL member, said. "I think it will help us recruit these students to OU, the more time they spend here and see that our school supports the things that they are involved in. It can't hurt us as a university."

The tournament will end Saturday April 4, 2009 and students can come and watch for free. For more information visit the 3rd floor of the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hopes for a National Championship

Courtney Paris hugging a fan before joining her teammates. (Photo by Colbi Beam)

OU Women's Basketball team was sent off by fans to St. Louis for their Final Four game with hopes to win a national championship.

OU, the number one seed, will be playing the Louisville Cardinals, the number three seed, to move onto the championship game.

"The girls are so excited," Kristi Brezinski, basketball manager, said. "They have been working for this for so long, they deserve it."

The game against Loiville will be Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Campus Activities Council is Ready for a Change

Kirsten Brinlee and Clara Mitcham discussing homecoming ideas. (Photo by Colbi Beam)

Courtney Nelson speaking about Campus Activities Council

Some students believe that Campus Activities Council is biased in preference of students in Greek houses and that those who aren't Greek don't have the same opportunities to get involved.

Campus Activities Council is a branch off of UOSA designed to create and organize the large scale events at OU. According to the CAC website, the events hosted by CAC include major activities like Homecoming, University Sing, Dance Marathon, and Howdy Week. The council also brings year-round attractions, including: films, concerts, and speakers.

Each of these events has their own committee, offering several students to get involved in the process of creating each attraction. However, some students think that the basis for choosing these leaders to get involved is biased in their Greek affiliation.

"I think that the system is run by Greeks," Courtney Nelson, un-affiliated student said. "Because of that when it comes time to choose, they choose people they know. People from other Greek houses. It makes it really hard for everyone else that wants to get involved."

Some Campus Activities Council leaders disagree that the bias exists in selecting leaders.

"I received over a hundred applications for people that wanted to be on Homecoming exec, and there were less than ten applicants that weren't Greek," Clara Mitcham, Homecoming Chair, said. "I can't pick people who don't apply. I would actually be more apt to put someone on my exec that's not Greek just because they want to get other non-Greek people involved."

CAC Executive Committee member, Chrissie Johnson, said that she thought that each candidate is evaluated fairly but occasionally prior knowledge may be brought up.

However, not all Campus Activities Council members disagree completely with the complaint.

"I do think that there can be a sense of nepotism," Kirsten Brinlee, CAC Public Relations officer, said. "Event chairs are human, but I don't think on a broad level that Greek individuals have any more clout than non-Greek individuals."

There are most definitely parallels in the kind of people that are involved with CAC and Greek life. People that join fraternities and sororities want to be involved, they are outgoing and want to be around other people and those are the same kinds of people that want to apply for CAC, Brinlee said.

"CAC is looking for people who want to be leaders, that want to be plugged-into campus and those people usually want to be in the Greek system for the same reasons," Mitcham said.

Campus Activities Council has six members on its executive council and presently all six are currently or have been in a Greek house during their college career. However, the general council for CAC is more diverse; five of the seventeen non-executive general council members are unaffiliated and are among the highest positions CAC has to offer.

"There is a good spread of Greek people and non-Greek people," Johnson said.

While some feel that the mix is just right, others think there is room for improvement.

"The executive council right now is the remainders of what CAC used to be, back when it was primarily Greek," said Brinlee. "We are in the process of change, but that takes time for everyone."

Event chairs are working to make the events more accessible to other groups on campus and trying to redefine what their events are.

"I think that the chairs are becoming experts at their events," said Brinlee. "They are trying to see what people want and make them better. University Sing and Homecoming this year opened up a 'town meeting' so people could vent their feelings about the event and discuss the changes they hope to see. The chairs want to include more than the Greek system in this."

Although CAC chairs are trying to change the way the system works, there are other factors to consider. The Greek system is very important to campus as a whole, according to the Panhellenic website, 25% of all the undergraduate women on campus are in a Panhellenic sorority. That is only one of the several Greek organizations.

"I know I want to make homecoming accessible to everyone, I want to make it affordable and encourage everyone to get involved," Mitcham said. "However, Greek organizations are the ones that want to participate. Yes, making a huge float is expensive for smaller organizations, but at the same time it is a part of the tradition."

While no one can argue that Greek students are the majority of CAC leaders, some think that this will change very soon.

"CAC is undertaking an organizational culture change," Brinlee said. "It has changed a lot, it has become less Greek since the time I was a freshman. As for the current leadership, we are a result of how CAC was, and in the next couple of years we will see a change of a better educated better and a qualified council. That is exciting!"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Student Life Photo Contest

The Student Life Academic Calendar Photo Contest is offering students the opportunity to show their life at OU.

Student life is hosting a photo contest to represent the "spirit of student life" at OU. Prizes include a book scholarship from the OU Bookstore.
"We are asking students to show us their view of student life here on our campus," Emily Hilburn, Assistant to the Director of Student Life, said. "We want to showcase their talent by publishing the top three photographs."

Photo submissions are due to Emily Hilburn by Sunday April 29, 2009 in the Student Life Office. For more information on guidelines and prizes you can visit the Student Life website.