Ohio University decided not to rescind admission for two incoming students who were seen in online videos using “racial slurs and derogatory stereotypes.”
The OU chapter of the NAACP wrote a letter to the university’s administration, which was published on Twitter in early July, that called for Lilly Huber’s and Ally Davis’ offers to the university be rescinded, according to the letter.
The university does not plan on rescinding admission for the students at this time, OU President Duane Nellis and Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban wrote in a letter, which was also published on Twitter.
The OU-NAACP urged OU to “follow in the footsteps” of the University of Florida and the College of Charleston, as they are “taking a stand against racism and bigotry,” according to the letter.
The letter added that the students’ actions mirror actions of other incoming freshmen at different universities who have had their admission rescinded.
Admitting those freshmen “will create tension between the administration and the black community,” as there already was tension between the administration and the Black community before those incidents, according to the organization’s letter.
In Nellis’ and Secuban’s response, they said they hope there is power in education to change minds.
“There is no policy or set of rules that will eradicate racism from our University or our nation, and so instead of indoctrination we look to instruct and to inspire a culture of understanding and empathy,” according to the letter.
The NAACP chapter also called on OU to introduce more scholarships directed toward the Black community.
Nellis and Secuban said in their letter that Nico Karagosian, OU’s vice president for advancement, is exploring the possible creation of more scholarships that impact diversity.
They also said there will be a meeting with the Ohio University Black Faculty Association later in July. They are “ready and willing” to meet with the NAACP chapter to have constructive dialogue.
Nellis and Secuban said the university is working on increasing investment in outreach and recruitment to underrepresented populations in the student body. They will also be looking at adopting required cultural competency/diversity training for students.
As well as creating a diversity, equity and inclusion audit of the university’s policies and procedures and other steps listed in the letter, Nellis and Secuban said they want input and ingenuity from the OU-NAACP.
“We know you carry a heavy burden as students of color, often feeling pressured to be a representative face or voice, as you mentioned in your letter,” Secuban and Nellis wrote. “It is not our intent to hand off this work of finding ways to change minds and inspire inclusivity. We are ready and willing to take on this difficult but worthy task, but we need you at the table as advisors and partners.”