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OSU lifts moratorium on black social organizations' events and endorses new safety policies

Monday, March 27, 2006

STILLWATER, OK- After discussions between Oklahoma State University, NAACP representatives and students, OSU has endorsed new standard operating procedures for events held by groups who are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. One successful event has already taken place under the new policy. 

The examination of these procedures outlined by Oklahoma State University was prompted by the shooting death of a University of Oklahoma student and the injury of an OSU and two Langston students earlier this year at an off campus function hosted by an OSU NPHC fraternity.  

“Following the January tragedy the university placed a moratorium on the scheduling of dances and stepshows held in the Student Union so that we could examine the operation of these events and improve the safety of the students,” said Lee Bird, OSU Vice President of Student Affairs.

OSU also announced that the Oklahoma Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha is taking a leadership role in conducting a “Stop the Violence” campaign across the Big 12 Conference.  The group is coordinating the effort with the Big 12 Council on Black Student Government.

“Part of the campaign will include a series of programs and initiatives that will be established on the campus of OSU,” said Mitchell McCowan, Vice President of Alpha Phi Alpha at OSU.  “These programs are going to be designed to educate our campus community and other groups on proactive measures that must be taken in order to reduce violence involving college students.”

“Our organization is enthusiastic about working collaboratively with community leaders, students and the university administration to be proactive in developing solutions to the problems that led to the tragic events in January,” said McCowan.

During the moratorium, OSU officials discussed with students ways to strengthen the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) procedures for dances and parties.  This document is made-up of 30 criteria these groups must follow before, during and after the events.

The Stillwater Chapter of the NAACP joins OSU in supporting the revised policy allowing NPHC parties to return to the Student Union. “The new policy promotes greater safety and accountability,” said William Carter, President of the Stillwater Chapter of the NAACP.

There are eight groups associated with the NPHC on the OSU campus. Ival Gregory, OSU Office of Fraternities and Sororities Manager, says six of the groups have signed and agreed to abide by the criteria set out in the new standards and procedures. 

“Those organizations that have not signed the agreement will not be allowed to hold events in the OSU Student Union,” Gregory said.  “We are continuing to discuss the issue with those groups.”

Bird said, “While it is important these organizations are allowed to keep their independence as individual groups, it is also important they meet academic and behavioral standards and follow procedures set out by the university to ensure the safety of not only the OSU students who are involved but the safety of all those who might attend these functions.”


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