Boren’s Decision on Gender-neutral Housing

Last Tuesday, Boren announced that OU will not adopt the proposal SDS and the Gender-neutral Housing Coalition have been working towards for four years. Instead, there will be a pilot coed freshman program introduced and mandatory sensitivity training for Resident Advisers.

The Coalition strongly rejects the implication in Boren’s statement, attached to this post, that gender-neutral housing constitutes a form of “separation by group identity.” We have made it clear from day one that gender-neutral housing would be open to all students regardless of orientation, identity, or expression. Furthermore, gender-neutral housing is not only about protecting LGBTQI+ students but also about affirming all adult students’ right to determine the best living situation for themselves.

From our interactions with Boren and the university administration, we have become very disturbed by the apparent belief that harassment and discrimination (on any basis) are no longer problems at the University of Oklahoma. SDS will continue to work dismantle systems of oppression on our campus through initiatives like the gender-neutral housing campaign as well as continuing to partner with other activist organizations to expand the range of our work and increase student power at OU. The Coalition’s official statement is forthcoming, stay tuned, folks!

Gender-Neutral Housing-Press Release 6.19.12


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Even Newer Gender Neutral Housing Proposal

We have made another version of the Gender Neutral Housing Proposal.  This version includes the changes to the mediation procedure.

Microsft Word Version: genderneutral2012

PDF: genderneutral2012

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After 10 Years of War

SDS and Friends and Friends (FaFs – the Quaker student organization on campus) hosted a vigil to commemorate the roughly 10,000 people killed in 10 years of conflict in Afghanistan. While we had a small turnout, we reflected on the different dimensions of this war and the other conflicts in which the US is currently embroiled. After the break is a letter a US American soldier – who will be deployed to Afghanistan at the end of the semester – shared with us.

We also discussed the massive amount of money that has been spent in Afghanistan alone: it could finance the educations of all the students in the United States, among other things. We closed by reading a partial list of the fatalities in Afghanistan from 2011 and then spent a moment in silence. One member closed the event with a call to taking a stance – and to taking action.

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Updated Genderneutral Housing Proposal

As we have been moving forward on our genderneutral housing campaign this year, we have made some (minor) changes to our proposal. This is the version presented to HCSA.

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Rally Against Intolerance (GLTBF + SDS)

Fresh from the SDS National Convention several members of Oklahoma SDS joined GLBTF (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Friends) for a Rally Against Intolerance on Monday (October 25).


The rally was organized in response to several recent events at OU and in the city of Norman. It was a direct response to the [as yet unidentified] person(s) who stole GLBTF’s pride flag during Shack-a-Thon. The date for the rally was chosen to coincide with Norman Human Rights’ Commission’s (HRC) current discussion around amending the Norman non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Seventy to seventy five students and townies  marched from the South Oval up to Gray St.  and the Municipal Complex, chanting the whole way. We stopped on the lawn right outside the HRC meeting. Then about 10 or 15 marchers were invited to sit in on the meeting and contribute to the discussion – the HRC will go on to recommend that gender identity and sexual orientation be added to the non-discrimination policy that governs Norman employees.  The next step will be to amend that ordinance to apply to all Norman businesses: if that happens, Norman will be the first state in Oklahoma to adhere to such a policy.

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PRESS RELEASE: SDS to Launch Living Wage Campaign for OU Staff


Contact: Grant Delozier, SDS Organizer,, (580)467-8351

Contact: Michael Howard, SDS Organizer,, 918-406-2924

When: Monday, October 18, 2010

SDS to Launch Living Wage Campaign for OU Staff

Members of Students for a Democratic Society have been reaching out to staff and asking them about their wages and working conditions at the University of Oklahoma.

Having found that there are employees, such as custodial staff and food service workers, that make less than a living wage, we will be launching a campaign on October 18 to remedy this problem.

According to the Penn State Living Wage Calculator, individuals living in Cleveland County must earn $13 per hour to meet their basic living needs for a family of four.

In our conversations with staff members, some shared with us stories of making $8 per hour, and making so little that they could not afford insurance for their children. Others have complained about OU’s at-will employment policy which permits the University administration to fire staff for any reason or for no reason at all. (This policy is found in the OU Staff Handbook in the Preface here).

SDS believes that such treatment is inhumane and unjust. It is wrong for any employer, especially a public institution, to pay their workers so little that they cannot properly support their families and take care of all their basic needs. It is also wrong to provide basically no job security, keeping workers in a state of constant anxiety about their next paycheck.

Because there is no law that would require the University to recognize even a unanimously supported staff union, SDS will launch a website where we intend to centrally organize a campaign to encourage sympathetic students, faculty, staff, and others to pressure the University to finally meet its obligations to its low-wage employees.

The site, which will be provided in Spanish and English, will begin to highlight stories from workers on campus, explain what the University needs to do, and help staff and others get involved in the project.

In addition to launching the website, a push will begin on October 18 to reach out to more University employees to collect their stories and work with them to achieve this goal. Because the University will be inclined to fire any staff attempting to help, we have committed ourselves to keeping communications and stories from staff members entirely anonymous.

We have already spoken to dozens of staff and collected a few of their stories, but starting October 18, we will launch the website, launch our campaign, and make a concerted push to bring light to the injustice of poverty wages at OU.


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Version One of the Gender-Neutral Housing Poposal for OU

SDS and GLBTF on campus have conducted a research project and proposal regarding the provision of a gender-neutral housing option at the University of Oklahoma. Download the 20 page pdf to read it: genderneutral,pdf

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