Crimson Quarterly, Summer 2023 edition

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Crimson Q Crimson QUARTERLY SUMMER 2023 | OUDAILY.COM LINE-UP? Ahead of SEC move, Norman committee walks through the conference’s best college towns CAN OU MAKE THE COLLEGE MEDIA’S 2021 MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
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3 Editor-in-chief News
Copy chief Design
managing editor
QUARTERLY Meet the team behind OU’s new branding campaign Disparities in health care 4 8 12 How does OU look in the line-up? Navigating accessibility on campus 18 20 Healing through dancing CONTENTS TABLE OF
Q Crimson
Design by Collin McDaniel and Connie Wiggins. Cover picture taken by Edward Reali.

Meet the team behind branding campaign OU’S NEW

University launches new, singular message to set itself apart ahead of SEC move

Early on Friday, Feb. 24, Jennifer Londoño-Salazar’s routine was disrupted by texts, emails and phone calls from professors and colleagues congratulating her for a recent cameo.

Londoño-Salazar had no idea what they were referring to.

Amid all the messages, she found one from OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. announcing the launch of the university’s $2.75 million brand campaign and its new campaign video.

Londoño-Salazar, a doctoral candidate researching chemistry and biochemistry, had previously volunteered to participate in the video in fall 2022. She appears twice, working on a robotic hand.

Seeing herself in the video reminded her how OU made her dreams possible.

“You work so hard for your dreams. For myself — this little kid from Colombia, dreaming big, getting my Ph.D. — seeing myself in this video made me think: ‘I’m making it. It’s possible,’” Londoño-Salazar said. “It sounds cliche, but anything that you can dream about you can make it happen.”

The uniersity’s “Thee’s only one Oklahoma” campaign rolled out two weeks after the Big 12 announced OU and the University of Texas will move to the Southeastern Conference in 2024, a year earlier than anticipated.

Launched offially on Feb. 24, and over three years in the making, the campaign intends to show all sides of the OU community, from research and academics to athletics and school spirit, said Jennifer Schultz, OU Health senior vice president of marketing and exter-

nal relations and a leader of the campaign.

Over a few weeks, the campaign made its way to billboards, transit ads and TV commercials, with more planned for the coming months and years, Schultz said.

Schultz helped create and lead OU’s effots for the campaign, calling it a “labor of love” that consumed much of her job. OU’s Marketing and Communications team collaborated with 160over90, a public relations and marketing agency based out of Pennsylvania, as the lead agency.

In recent years, 160over90 has improved fundraising and enrollment at several other universities, namely four in the SEC: the University of Missouri, Texas A&M University,

the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina.

At Eventually, the protests led to the resigna-

At Mizzou, large-scale protests broke out at the university over the racial climate on campus in 2015, with several student-workers going on a hunger strike and the football team boycotting all football-related activities. Eventually, the protests led to the resignations of the university system president and Columbia campus chancellor.

Two years later, Mizzou’s enrollment decreased by around 30 percent. This ld the university to sign a $1.27 million three-year contract with 160over90 in 2017 to rebrand and bounce back from the protests and changes in leadership, according to reporting

RAY BAHNER/OU DAILY OU’s new marketing slogan is “There’s only one Oklahoma,” a phrase familiar to recent generations of OU fans and supporters.
Amid all the work so hard for your dreams. For myThe and as In
OU Board of Regents meeting at the Stephenson Research and Technology Center Atrium on March 7.

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Mizzou Made” sought to inspire pride in alumni and prospective students by showing the university had made “meaningful change.” 160over90 reported a 16 percent increase in applications just two years after the campaign’s launch.

Texas A&M hired the agency in 2015 after the president and director of athletics resigned. Thy later unveiled the “Fearless on Every Front” campaign, focused on fundraising.

160over90 reported the campaign raised $3.8 billion so far for the university, with 400 million earned media impressions.

The niversity of Florida’s campaign, “For the Gator Good,” aimed to raise the university to a top 10 public institution in the U.S. and increase fundraising effots. According to 160over90’s website, the campaign led Florida to place seventh in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings for public institutions and increased alumni giving by 17 percent since 2014.

The niversity of South Carolina and 160over90 launched “The emarkable We” in early 2022, garnering 278 million impressions and 303,000 site sessions, according to the agency’s website.

For OU, 160over90 pitched an idea that at fist felt too broad, Schultz said. That’s when the agency and OU Marketing and Communications decided to look back at a catchphrase used by OU football for over 18 years: “Thee’s only one Oklahoma.”

Steve Sturges came up with the slogan after OU lost 55-19 to the University of Southern California in the 2005 Orange Bowl.

“It was one of those things that happened in the heat of a really bad defeat,” Sturges told OU Daily. “I was sitting there, and I was trying to justify who we were and really look at us as a program rather than just a team in the moment. That’s what came out. … I love it. This i kind of my gift to the university.”

That next football season, Sturges’ catchphrase debuted in a promotional video before the start of a game.

“Thee’s only one, Billy Sims” and “Thee’s only one, Adrian Peterson” kicked the video off ith the same phrases being used in almost every subsequent OU football promotional video to date. The had coach typically finishes off the vio, saying “Thee’s only one Oklahoma” at the end.

tional video to date. The had coach typically

Eighteen years later, the university fially decided to claim the phrase for the entirety of OU in their new rebranding campaign.

“It seemed like one of the taglines that clearly worked in other contexts, including athletics. Thee’s only one,” Harroz told OU Daily. “One flagship university. One academic health system. Thee’s only one University of Oklahoma. For students and prospective students, there’s only one of you, the same way there’s only one OU.”

Schools like Mizzou and Louisiana State University also use “Thee’s only one” for advertising and to promote school pride, especially in athletics. Harroz said OU did it fist and that it applies to OU best.

OU has ownership and visibility with “Thee’s only one,” Schultz said. The phase is an opportunity to take a well-known aspect of the university and its intellectual property and leverage it to better tell OU’s brand story, Schultz said.

Schultz and Harroz both said the cam-

paign, which comes at an opportune time as the university heads to the SEC, is mainly centered around telling the story of OU and the real stories of the OU community.

“Inside of this brand are things that are unique and distinct. We as students, we as faculty, alumni, members of the community, we’re all unique and distinct,” Schultz said. “In ‘Thee’s only one Oklahoma,’ there’ll be a story of a student who came to OU and their life was changed because of their experience at the university.”

“There’s only one Oklahoma” branding on a poster on the door of the OU Student Affairs office on March 24. RAY BAHNER/OU DAILY
“There’s only one Oklahoma” branding on an OU bus on March 24. The
poster Texas A&M The For
OU as Oklahoma’”branding on an OU bus on March 24.

Two of these stories are Londoño-Salazar’s and the future story of the Grant family.

Ronald Grant met his wife, Brenda Palomino Grant, at OU while he studied business administration and she studied zoology and biomedical sciences. Next year, the couple will watch their son start his college career at their alma mater.

The famiy found out about a casting call for an OU branding video in late 2022, and on a whim, decided to make an audition tape of them sending their kid off o college.

Their 13-ear-old son grabbed his iPhone while the family shot a simple scene outside their house as the parents helped their son pack his car, hugged him goodbye and watched him drive off.

OU’s creative team reached out saying they loved the emotion Brenda had and an additional blooper reel their 13-year-old son submitted of the family dog coming into frame and their oldest son dancing. Thy asked the Grant family to be in the video.

OU’s creative team met with the Grant family several times to get footage, and Grant said the result was amazing because the video focused on all sides of the OU story.

“When my wife and I fist heard about college, we thought, ‘Oh, it’s just a place for smart people,’ and ‘You have to have money.’

And then we got there, (and) we realized we totally belong,” Grant said. “This vido does a good job of showing all the diffeent kinds of perspectives and the ways that you can belong at OU.”

For myself — this little kid from Colombia, dreaming big, getting my Ph.D. — seeing myself in this v ide o made me think: ‘I’m making it.’

Grant said the college experience has changed since he and his wife attended OU, but one thing remained the same.

“Thee really is only one Oklahoma,” Grant said.

Grant said the college experience has changed since he and his wife attended OU, but one thing remained the same.

Schultz said the campaign was focused on the distinct stories of specific eople, research and athletics at the university.

“Thee really is only one Oklahoma,” Grant said.

Schultz said the campaign was focused on the distinct stories of specific eople, research

“(We were) trying to put something together for an institution with the history and tradition of the University of Oklahoma, where you can really become anything. You can study

dance, you can go to law school, you can go to medical school or nursing school,” Schultz said. “Thee’s such a wide array of things that you can do that’s available to you at OU.”

and athletics at the university.

“(We were) trying to put something together for an institution with the history and tradition of the University of Oklahoma, where you can really become anything. You can study dance, you can go to law school, you can go to medical school or nursing school,” Schultz said. “Thee’s such a wide array of things that you can do that’s available to you at OU.”

Schultz and Harroz said they see the brand going everywhere, with Harroz saying the university can never be too humble in sharing its story. Schultz said the branding will cover things like OU’s websites, billboards in Oklahoma and other states, and fundraising effots.

Schultz said the brand is about what makes OU special: its people and stories. Londoño-Salazar said the video successfully captures what made her dreams a reality.

Schultz and Harroz said they see the brand going everywhere, with Harroz saying the university can never be too humble in sharing its story. Schultz said the branding will cover things like OU’s websites, billboards in Oklahoma and other states, and fundraising effots.

Schultz said the brand is about what makes OU special: its people and stories. Londoño-Salazar said the video successfully captures what made her dreams a reality.

“All of us are sometimes in a diffeent universe, but our story matters,” Londoño-Salazar said. “Athletes who overcome injuries, me coming from Colombia to OU, learning a new language — it is really inspirational. A lot of people can relate to your story. It’s cool to get to tell your story.”

“All of us are sometimes in a diffeent universe, but our story matters,” Londoño-Salazar said. “Athletes who overcome injuries, me coming from Colombia to OU, learning a new language — it is really inspirational. A lot of people can relate to your story. It’s cool to get to tell your story.”

-JENNIFER LONDOÑO-SALAZAR , OU doctoral candidate featured in the campaign launch video. SCREENSHOT FROM CAMPAIGN VIDEO
6 and the Their “When
Brenda Palomino Grant and Ronald Grant watching their son drive away in the “There’s only one Oklahoma” campaign launch video.
There really is only one Oklahoma -RONALD GRANT, OU alumnus featured with family in campaign launch video


Competing against professionals, the OU Daily was presented the 2022 Carter Bradley First Amendment Award, for work that aimed to reset norms around transparency at OU and in Norman. Its winning entry included stories that:

Examined how the university handles records requests, including response times in comparison to other universities and resources available to the school’s records office.

Broke down data from the Norman Police Department to show on a per capita basis, the city’s Black residents were three times more likely than their white neighbors to be contacted, arrested or have force used against them by the police.

Monitored the football team’s quarterback controversy via the journalism school windows near the practice field, leading the athletic department to institute a 72-hour national media blackout.




Sitting at a Mexican restaurant in Dallas, Jermaine Thibodeaux watched as the people around him drank tequila and marched in a conga line around the room.

He enjoyed eating chips and dip while talking with his godfather, whom he was staying with for the summer before leaving for the Junior Statesmen summer program at Princeton University.

Suddenly, Thibodeaux slumped over in his chair.

His godfather took him to a local doctor to ensure he was OK. There, he was asked typical questions about his medical history, until his godfather said he was going to Princeton. The doctor replied, “Oh, he plays basketball.”

These uncomfortable moments when a health care provider stereotypes a patient is one reason why Black people are hesitant to go to the doctor, said Thibodeaux, who is now an OU professor in the department of African and African American studies.

The U.S. has a history of medically abusing and systemically under-serving racial and ethnic minorities, establishing lasting barriers to health care access and fostering distrust in the medical industry, Thibodeux said.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, trust in health care among Americans has declined in recent decades, and it’s the worst among Black Americans. A 2020 nationwide poll by The Undefeated and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that seven out of 10 Black Americans believe that people are treated unfairly based on race or ethnicity when they seek medical care, and 55 percent said they distrust the health care system.

godfather brought him to a local doctor to ensure he was OK. There, he was asked typical questions about his medical history, until hisimplicit

Jabraan Pasha, vice president of health equity for Juno Medical and an international speaker on implicit bias, said many of the issues in health care today stem from past logic and ideologies, which were often used to justify slavery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. experience higher rates of illness and death across a range of health conditions, including diabetes,

Implicit bias, medical myths, distrust rooted in history creating racial divides

hypertension, obesity, asthma and heart disease, when compared to white people.

in medical treatment, education

Implicit bias in health care

Racial and ethnic minorities face unique barriers to health care access and affordability and

Dr. Jabraan Pasha, vice president of health equity for Juno Medical and an international speaker on implicit bias in 2022.

disparities in the care they receive, Pasha said.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, racial and ethnic minorities often receive lower quality care and are less likely than white people to be given appropriate cardiac care, to receive kidney dialysis or transplants or to receive the best treatments for stroke, cancer, HIV and AIDs.

Pasha said much of this has to do with implicit bias in health care, which is the subconscious and unrecognized attitudes, stereotypes and associations about people or groups of people, according to the National Library of Medicine. Pasha said this bias can impact a person’s actions and decisions.

“Bias impacts really every walk of life, every sector, especially health care, and we’re going into a pretty high-stakes arena,” Pasha said.

Many of the biases seen in health care today echo the pervasive — and typically inaccurate, narratives of the past — Pasha said.

One common bias is the idea that Black people have thicker skin and fewer nerve endings and therefore have a higher pain tolerance. Thibodeaux said this idea originates from medical experiments performed on Black people in the 19th and 20th centuries.

James Marion Sims, for example, conducted research on enslaved women in the 1840s without anesthesia or numbing agents to perfect surgical techniques related to women’s reproductive health. Credited as the “father of modern gynecology,” several of Sims’ methods and tools are commonly used in gynecology today, according to the African American Intellectual History Society.

This is just one example of how Black people

were used as a means to an end for research, Thibodeaux said.

A study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science in 2016 revealed that many medical students and residents still hold false beliefs about biological differences between Black and white people and these beliefs impact the accuracy of their treatment recommendations.

According to the report, 40 percent of first- and second-year medical students endorsed the belief that Black people have thicker skin than white people. The study also found that trainees who believed that Black people are not as sensitive to pain as white people were less likely to treat Black people’s pain appropriately.

Unconscious bias causes some health care providers to dismiss or belittle Black patients’ complaints, Thibodeaux said. In particular, women of color commonly suffer the consequences of these notions and experience adverse — and often preventable — health outcomes as a result, Thibodeaux said.

According to a California Health Care Foundation study, Black women are three to four times more likely to experience pregnancy-related death than white women. These poor maternal health outcomes are a result of barriers to health care access and discrimination and bias, Pasha said. Statistically, women of color are less likely to have their complaints heard and validated by health care providers or to have their pain treated appropriately.

Saramarie Azzun, a pre-med senior at OU, said she has been very intentional in choosing courses that teach about the history of inequities and biases in health care. She said she’s not sure if

medical schools prioritize teaching this information.

In some of her classes, Azzun said professors typically don’t address some of the inaccurate or non-inclusive information in the curriculum. During a conversation about eating disorders, for example, Azzun said it was framed as an issue that only affects white women and that her professor only acknowledged that people of color are affected as well as an afterthought.

It’s an example of how people of color often are not researched, she said. It’s important to avoid language that puts one racial group at more risk than another, as it can cause people to be under-diagnosed, Azzun said.

“We’re still fighting to eliminate (these) dangerous tropes,” Thibodeaux said. “The consequences of embracing some of these racist tropes about Black folks could be deadly.”

Deep-rooted distrust

For many ethnic and racial minorities, Thibodeaux said there is a deep-rooted distrust around the medical industry and health care professionals.

Black people were subjected to experimentation and abuse, their bodies were pilfered from graves for study and Black women were unknowingly sterilized. This tortured history still affects how Black people interact with the system of medicine today, Thibodeaux said.

During the pandemic, Thibodeaux said this distrust caused many Black people to be hesitant to receive a vaccine, although the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered to a Black woman.

“A lot of Black people said, ‘I’m not taking it. I don’t trust it,’ because there’s a past history of the government using Black people as guinea pigs for experimentation,” Thibodeaux said.

Thibodeaux said some of this fear stemmed from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which began in 1932. During the experiment, researchers recruited 600 Black men in Alabama and gave them placebos and other ineffective care to observe the full progression of syphilis.

“The deceit was that the government claimed to have administered some sort of inoculation, whereas they really didn’t and they just wanted to watch the man’s body sort of morph and change as a consequence of contracting syphilis,” Thibodeaux said.

The distrust that exists is appropriate, Pasha said. The health care industry has not given communities of color a reason to trust it.

Most physicians come from a higher socioeconomic status, which can make it difficult for them to relate to and understand patients from different backgrounds, Azzun said.

“When you’re in the room, it’s not the illness that should just be treated,” Azzun said. “It’s also getting a full picture of who you are and understanding life circumstances.”

To build trust with patients, Pasha said health care providers need to acknowledge their implicit biases, listen to their patients’ concerns and take the time to understand



“Doctors swear by the Hippocratic Oath: ‘First, do no harm,’” Thibodeaux said. “We have to ensure that they are doing their best to see each patient as fully human and worthy of the treatment that they would expect for themselves or for their loved ones.”

Social determinants of health

The U.S. remains residentially segregated in some areas along racial and class lines, which creates structural barriers to accessing health care, Thibodeaux said. When looking at majority Black or poor communities, it’s clear there isn’t the same kind of access to medical facilities, education or grocery stores.

Several of the health issues affecting Black people, such as hypertension and heart disease, are exacerbated by food deserts and a lack of parks and open spaces in these communities, which can make dieting and exercise difficult.

A physician can tell a patient to eat healthier, but when they don’t have access to grocery stores that sell fresh fruit and vegetables, it becomes very difficult to do, Azzun said.

In predominantly Black neighborhoods, the medical center, if there is one, offers limited services, and the quality of care is often not adequate, Thibodeaux said. People have to find a doctor or a center to visit elsewhere, arrange transportation and take time off work to go to the appointment.

“(Accessing health care) is a long, tedious process,” Thibodeaux said. “It’s not always

convenient for folks who are low-income.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, these systemic and socioeconomic barriers became very apparent, forcing communities to confront the profound inequities existing in health care today, Thibodeaux said.

Minorities and low-income individuals were more likely to be essential workers and less likely to work from home. They often lived in higher-density living environments far from testing or vaccination centers and had limited access to insurance and health care, according to the National Library of Medicine.

These issues, combined with common and chronic underlying medical conditions, put minority and low-income people at a substantially greater risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

According to a 2020 Washington Post analysis of data and census demographics, majority-Black counties had three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents were in the majority.

In Oklahoma, non-Hispanic Black people make up 12.7 percent of the state population, 6.1 percent of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 1.9 percent of deaths. In

Jermaine Thibodeaux, an OU professor in the department of African and African American studies. BELLA GRAY /OU Oath: access workershos

Non-Hispanic Black people made up:

12.7 percent of Oklahoma’s population

Oklahoma’s population

6.1 percent of COVID-19related hospitalizations

1.9 percent of COVID-19related deaths

White people made up:

59.5 percent of Oklahoma’s population

Oklahoma’s population

4.6 percent of COVID-19related hospitalizations

2.2 percent of COVID-19related deaths

Source: The National Library of Medicine

comparison, white people make up 59.3 of the state population, 4.6 percent of hospitalizations and 2.2 percent of deaths, according to the National Library of Medicine.

“(It’s) just a basic question about who lives and who dies, right?” Thibodeaux said. “A lot of it, again, was predicated on who had access to proper health care.”

Racial and ethnic disparities persist because few people use their power to challenge their endurance in society, Thibodeaux said. But that is changing.

“Health equity has to be considered in every single thing that you do as a health care institution,” Pasha said. “Until that is the way of thinking, we’re gonna have a lot of disappointment and some really bad numbers are gonna continue.”

Pasha said being a doctor is about more than just listening to someone’s heartbeat and prescribing medicine. They need to listen to their patients and find ways to advocate for the communities they serve.

They lis

“We’ve got to understand, we’re not just talking about statistics, we’re not talking about numbers on a graph or on a chart,” Pasha said. “We’re talking about people.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Jermaine Thibodeaux, an OU professor in the department of African and African American studies.

How does OU look in the line-up?


To prepare for move to SEC, Norman committee gets lay of land with walks through the best of the conference’s college towns

Scott Martin, president of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, under the banner of Team Norman — a collective of community leaders dedicated to preparing for the Southeastern Conference move in OU sports and the city — created an SEC site visits subcommittee of Norman officials and economic development strategists that traveled to three SEC schools last fall.

As they compared experiences in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and Lexington, Kentucky to OU and Norman, they concluded the city and university still have much to accomplish ahead of the conference transition but that their potential is exciting.

Sept. 16-18: Fayetteville, Arkansas

During their 240mile car ride northeast to Arkansas’ second largest city, the contingent of Martin; Dan Schemm, Visit Norman director; and Darrel Pyle, Norman city manager, witnessed beauty far surpassing the flatlands of Oklahoma as they drove through the rolling hills and Ozark Mountains.

Dan Schemm, Visit Norman director; and Darrel Pyle, Norman city Manager, witnessed beauty far surpassing the flatlands of Oklahoma as they drove through the rolling hills and Ozark Mountains. 12

Upon touring Fayetteville on Friday, Sept. 16, Martin particularly enjoyed the town square, which was replete with local art. The former post office, built in 1911 at the center of the square, was refurbished into a popular local restaurant, Cheers at the Old Post Office.

also offices in equiva-

The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce also has offices on the square. It includes digital fabrication and robotics labs, evoking the academic spirit of the late Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-Arkansas), who was raised in Fayetteville, becoming Arkansas’ student body president and a four-year football star for the Razorbacks from 1921-24.

Less than half a mile north of the town square’s center lies Dickson Street, Fayetteville’s equivalent to Campus Corner, lined with unique shops and restaurants. There, the Normanite visitors witnessed a semitruck pulling an elevated deck trailer full of cheerleaders. The caravan stopped at every block to lead fans in “Woo Pig Sooie” and other cheers.

“It was great, I mean, kudos to them,” Martin said. “They’re getting all their alumni and students, they were all riled up, which I thought was awesome. That was kind of like, ‘Oh yeah, we need to be doing things like that,’ because you don’t see that on Friday night (in Norman).”

EDWARD REALI/OU DAILY Oklahoma’s state flag is displayed on the field before the game against Western Carolina Sept. 11, 2021.
traveled and to

On Saturday morning, Martin, Schemm and Pyle returned to the town square, where they soaked in the “primo” weather and explored the year-round Fayetteville Farmers Market. Reflecting on the massive street sale, Schemm said he thinks Norman can achieve a similarly robust farmers market now that the event has been moved from the Cleveland County Fairgrounds to The Well, a wellness center off Main Street.

Later, the trio watched Oklahoma’s 49-14 win at Nebraska on television while eating lunch at Walk On’s Bistreaux. The Cajun-themed bar — founded near LSU’s Tiger Stadium and fronted by former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees — is reportedly coming to Norman.

Walking around campus ahead of the evening kickoff, the group marveled at “Hog Heaven,” the 500-spot RV park across the street from the Razorbacks’ baseball complex.

“What we learned is that SEC fans, they love to RV. They travel well,” Martin said. “They show up, they travel, and even from long distances. And they were like, ‘Yeah, really, for us, a lot of people roll in on Monday, and they stay the entire week in their RV,’ kind of thing. We don’t have enough permanent RV spots (in Norman), so that’s something we’re working on.”

Among other sights on Arkansas’ campus, the group passed by Inn at Carnall Hall, a boutique hotel on campus that opened as a girls dorm in 1905, was saved from demolition by community preservation support in 2001 and was refurbished as recently as 2018. It overlooks the campus grounds, including Old Main, the oldest building on campus and one of the most recognizable university symbols.

Regarding newer developments, they were impressed by Arkansas’ Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center, opened in 2015. The facility was backed by a $10.65 million gift from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, an offensive lineman on the Razorbacks’ 1964 national championship team for which legendary OU coach Barry Switzer was an assistant, and his wife, Gene, a fellow alum.

Outside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the visitors meshed with the tailgating experience, the hub being HogTown, a pregame destination on Maple Street that boasts a live music stage. Martin liked the warm welcome of the “Hogspitality” sign posted at the help desk outside the stadium.

Once inside, Martin tried to play along while sitting next to a woman who was displeased by Arkansas’ struggles against Missouri State, though the Razorbacks did win 38-27 before 74,133 fans. Funnily enough, Schemm sat next to a man who grew up in Norman and still lives in Oklahoma, but whose daughter attends Arkansas.

Reynolds Razorback Stadium boasts more suites than Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Martin said, and he was also impressed their student section stayed full throughout. He also noted the sizable Walmart signage in the corners of the north end zone, indicative of the university’s partnership with the Arkansas-based retail giant.

Walmart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport Services are all major donors for Arkansas, but their contributions are predicated on Fayetteville’s collaboration with Bentonville, Springdale, Rogers and other communities in northwest Arkansas, creating a familial regionalism that shares the wealth. In Martin’s estimation, Fayetteville has been very successful at working with its neighbors.

Perhaps the greatest difference between Fayetteville and Norman is that Fayetteville is the “big boy on the block,” whereas Norman is often perceived as the second seat to Oklahoma City. Martin emphasized this as a potential rationale for why Dickson Street was more flavorsome than Campus Corner.

But, being smaller has its advantages too. Martin believes Norman can lean into its proximity to Oklahoma City, especially early in the SEC timeline when development is still in progress.

And, as Norman adapts to the SEC transition, a Walmart-level regional partnership could certainly be on the table.

“OU’s brand is national,” Martin said. “We shouldn’t sell ourselves short. I suspect just about any business in Oklahoma that has the capacity would like to be associated with the OU brand. … We need to lean into our regional partners to meet the demand of SEC guests.”

Oct. 21-23: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

An inflatable replica of Crimson Tide mascot Big Al the Elephant greeted the Normanites visiting Tuscaloosa as they stepped off their plane at Birmingham-

RAY BAHNER/OU DAILY Norman City Council chamber during the Norman City Council meeting on Feb. 28.

Shuttlesworth International Airport.

Tuscaloosa’s air transportation situation is similar to Norman’s: It has only a municipal airport, Tuscaloosa National, akin to Norman’s Max Westheimer, so many SEC fans fly commercially into Birmingham, then make the hour drive to games. For Martin, the early takeaway from the trip was to market OU at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City as the University of Alabama is promoted in Birmingham.

“This was great,” Martin said of the blow-up mascot. “We don’t do anything like this at Will Rogers, but imagine if you had a Boomer (or) Sooner and Pistol Pete right there. They’re our two reasons people come to Oklahoma.”

From the airport, Martin; Lawrence McKinney, Norman Economic Development Coalition president; his wife, Elizabeth; and Ward 2 Norman City Councilmember Lauren Schueler proceeded to University Boulevard. The four-lane road that constitutes Tuscaloosa’s main street runs through downtown, into The Strip — their Campus Corner counterpart — and right onto campus.

Throughout Tuscaloosa, Martin witnessed examples of signs and banners that were co-branded between the city in the university, embracing crimson wherever possible to assist with wayfinding and disseminating information.

Downtown, he and company visited the Tuscaloosa Transit Authority’s major hub which left an impression to aspire to. Schueler said the

City of Norman will soon be converting the old Arvest Bank on the corner of Porter Avenue and Comanche Street into a new transit hub, while also creating new bus routes and building new stops.

Martin also took notice of several apartment complexes in the area, believing Norman is deficient in affordable multifamily housing. The federal building and city hall — inside a historic post office — were among other downtown Tuscaloosa landmarks that stood out. Attractions included the Children’s Hands-On Museum, a barbershop called Crimson Cuts, owned by an Alabama student, and a brand new visitor center.

While Norman deploys a council-manager form of government popular for its region, Tuscaloosa adheres to the strong mayor form, with its mayor as a full-time employee who runs the city. Walt Maddox, 50, has been the mayor of Tuscaloosa since 2005. Word on the street is he’s jealous of the silver OU water tower in the engineering quad of campus that occasionally appears on TV broadcasts of Sooners football games.

In enlightening meetings with Maddox and other city officials, chamber of commerce employees and the convention and visitors bureau, the Normanites learned that, despite just 95,000 residents in Tuscaloosa to Norman’s 130,000, Tuscaloosa’s average economic benefit on a gameday weekend is $30 million, while Norman’s is only $11 million.

helps it employ 295 sworn police officers to Norman’s 151, according to Pyle, and the total impact is seen in its 1,400 public service employees to Norman’s 900.

“It’s also fire, it’s also our planning department, who’s going to have to deal with the spur and growth and development as all of these applications come in,” Schueler said. “Can they handle that influx of things? What about our public works, who are thinking about road construction and moving people throughout the city while they’re here? Thinking about our stormwater utility, as that comes alongside development.”

Furthermore, the prosperity in Tuscaloosa
Alabama cheerleaders on Sept. 17, 2022.
They show up, they travel, and even from long distances.
-SCOTT MARTIN, president of the Norman Chamber of Commerce

The Team Norman party proceeded to The Strip, where they checked out Alabama Express, a Crimson Tide apparel megastore to contend with Balfour of Norman on Campus Corner. Martin also snapped a picture of a less-than-five-yearold condominium complex in close proximity to Bryant-Denny Stadium that prices its units between $1-2 million, appealing to the wealthiest of Alabama fans. Martin said Norman and OU would really benefit from a similar development at a lower price point near Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

It was homecoming week at Alabama, so the Norman delegation observed a lengthy parade. They also marveled at the sparkling residencies of a Crimson Tide greek life system that, at about 10,000 students, doubles OU’s fraternity and sorority engagement.

But they were most impressed by the magnitude of Alabama’s tailgating, so expansive it necessitates a map. The majority of tailgating, free and private, takes place on The Quad, a 22-acre quadrangle that contains most of the campus’ original buildings, like the iconic Denny Chimes bell tower.

For the paid tailgating, a contractor sets up and serves amenities for the purchasers, similar to what OU offers on the northeast corner of Lindsey Street and Jenkins Avenue, but Martin said Alabama’s version was closer in quality to a

“(It’s) so much better than OU’s because of the way they’ve structured it,” Lawrence said. “And everybody has a tent. I mean, everybody from the engineering department to the cheerleaders.”

Add university president Stuart Bell to that list. He hosts a tailgate outside the President’s Mansion, a Greek-Revival-style house built in 1841 which, according to tradition, was saved from Union army razing during the Civil War by university first lady Louisa Frances Garland.

Martin has since joked with Harroz that he’s “missing out” on hosting a party at the Boyd House, but on a more serious note, showed OU’s chief decision maker there’s some things they could easily do to improve the tailgating experience in Norman. Harroz told Martin he is examining some of those opportunities.

Whereas the Tide rolled in the battle of gameday atmosphere outside the stadium, Martin and the McKinneys walked away believing OU’s in-stadium presentation was far superior to Alabama’s.

Bryant-Denny, with over 100,000 seats, has four smaller video boards to Oklahoma’s two large screens, which made watching replays difficult, especially as the Team Norman bunch sat near the very top of the stadium. Alabama had nothing that compared to the Sooners’ graphics and sounds, especially the pregame hype video that always closes with the declaration “There’s only

one Oklahoma.”

In lieu of fireworks, the Sooner Schooner jaunting across Owen Field and RUF/NEKS blasting their shotguns, Martin hoped he’d see the crimson LED light show Alabama debuted in 2019, but for reasons unclear, that never occurred. OU installed new LED lights capable of special presentations last season, which were well-received.

The Crimson Tide defeated Mississippi State 30-6 in front of 100,077 fans, even if it wasn’t the flashiest of experiences for fans.

“They’ve got a great band, bigger than ours, and they did some cool stuff, which was neat,” Martin said. “I mean, it was a neat experience. … I think ours is just as good, if not better. Now, we need to win more games. Maybe that’s the difference.”

Nov. 11-12: Lexington, Kentucky

According to Martin, the top five economic drivers in Kentucky are horses — evidenced by the “beautiful bluegrass horse farms” on the way to Lexington — bourbon, Toyota, Kentucky basketball and then Kentucky football. It’s possible Kentucky basketball is more profitable than Toyota, Martin joked, but the horse and bourbon industries are definitely the leaders.

Given its 322,000 population and 285 square miles, Lexington felt more like Tulsa than Norman, Martin said, but there were still sites to see and observations to extract for Team Norman. Martin, Schemm, Pyle, Norman Ward 7 Councilmember Stephen Tyler Holman and Ward 8 Councilmember Matt Peacock staffed the trip.

The Kentucky convention visitors bureau spoke to the guests from Norman about creative ways to inform visitors before they arrive about historic sites, hoping to help amplify the history of Norman.

The public library impressed, the visitor center was inside an old building and, sampling some of the great history Lexington has to offer, the group rode past the law office of former U.S. Speaker of the House Henry Clay.

“I’m really into historic preservation and old buildings and old downtowns and things like that,” Holman said. “They had a lot of great examples of restoration, and reuse of buildings and higher-density housing options in their downtown campus area.”

Holman noted Lexington is surrounded by land restricted for the development of horse racing and farms, so the city has been forced to “address growth without encouraging sprawl.” He said Lexington created some unique “urban density projects” that Norman should consider emulating, especially as OU prepares for potentially higher enrollment and residency with the SEC move.

The public art scene in Lexington revolves around, of course, horses. Every decade the

PGA Tour chalet.
JACK WEAVER/KENTUCKY KERNEL Kentucky students cheer in the student section as three planes perform a flyover before the Kentucky vs. Missouri football game on Sept. 11, 2021, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 35-28
SCANME The Red CupbytheOUSWPC andpaidforbySAMHSASPF-PFS. Q&A is written

Lexington Arts and Crafts Society produces an event called Horse Mania. Artists paint horse statues that are auctioned off for charity and displayed around downtown Lexington.

“As you’re a visitor coming to a community, those art pieces are really eye-catching,” Schemm said. “And if they’re tactile, and something you can go up to and take pictures with, and blog about or put on your stories and reels. … We need more of that here in Norman so that they turn into kind of brand ambassadors for our communities.”

If Tuscaloosa was an introduction to the importance of town and gown co-branding, Lexington was a full-on course.

A few years ago, Lexington decided they needed a community brand. Public relations experts helped them select “Big Lex” the Kentucky Blue horse, an adaptation of Edward Troye’s painting of the famous race horse Lexington. Now it’s on everything, from signs and banners to pins, stickers and buttons and even the free socks the Team Norman crew received from their hosts.

“It’s so simple, but perfect,” Martin said. “It marries who they are. There’s no bourbon in there, but still, it marries who they are, and it’s awesome.”

On Friday night, Team Norman stayed downtown to catch a Kentucky basketball game at Rupp Arena. Despite an uninspiring nonconference matchup against Duquesne, the blueblood Wildcats’ 22,000-seat arena was brimming with fans throughout the 77-52 win. Recorded attendance that evening was 20,014. Pyle said it was a gameday experience that gave Oklahoma something to aspire to achieve.

LexLive, across the street from Rupp Arena, is a multistory entertainment venue housing movie theaters, an arcade, a bowling alley and a sports bar.

“That certainly is something we’re missing with (OU’s) Lloyd Noble (Center),” Schemm said of the draw of LexLive and comparable venues. “So if something were to happen, like an entertainment

these communities did.”

The night at Rupp Arena also lent information about city infrastructure. The Normanites met with the police department and toured their mobile command center, seeing what resources the Norman Police Department might need to handle a larger and more intense fanbase.

On Saturday, the Team Norman company bundled up and traversed through the snow to Kroger Field, which holds only 61,000 to Oklahoma Memorial Stadium’s 86,000. Schemm noticed there were no metal detectors or lines entering the stadium.

It never filled up that afternoon, capping at 57,474. Many left at halftime as Mark Stoops, brother of hall of fame former OU coach Bob Stoops, and the Wildcats suffered a 24-21 upset loss to Vanderbilt.

consecutive days when able.

“We see it all the time in spring sports,” Martin said. “I’m following OU athletics on social media, and right now, every weekend … they jam pack it, right? So you can be doing softball, basketball, gymnastics, track and field all on one weekend in Norman. So when you do it in the spring, we probably need to consider more of that in the fall, too.”

Regarding marketing, Martin and Schemm said, in the past, Norman has shied away from embracing its identity as a university town. They are hoping to embrace it with the collective branding that was prevalent in the SEC towns they visited.

So, is there a “Kentucky blue horse” in OU and Norman’s future?

district (in Norman), it would be a tremendous draw, and I think enhance people’s desire to come to basketball games and gymnastics and other things. Because you want to go out, and the game is part of the draw, but then what else is there to see and do and how do you get people out of their house? So you gotta have something like that, and

While it didn’t exactly work for Kentucky, although the weather played a part, a recurring observation on the site visits was that the proverbial party on an SEC game weekend starts on Thursday or Friday and carries through Sunday.

One potential way for OU and Norman to create a similar experience is, like Kentucky, scheduling more basketball and football games on

“There could be,” Martin said. “Why not, right? If we’re all doing our own thing, then it kind of diffuses the overall impact, so we need to be thinking a little bit more unified.”

Oklahoma fans during the game against Kent State on Sept. 10, 2022.
Everybody has a tent, man. I mean, everybody from the engineering department to the cheerleaders.
-LAWRENCE McKINNEY, Norman Economic Development Coalition president


It was 1998 when 48-year-old music teacher John Gerber received devastating news for him and his family: he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease.

While the diagnosis was heart-wrenching, John and his wife, Midge Gerber, vowed to never allow the disease to disrupt their lives, as they still had children in college.

Midge said she and her husband tried everything from deep brain stimulation surgery to tai chi to help him maintain his balance and speech. After finding out about a dance class through the Oklahoma Parkinson’s Alliance, they decided to try something new.

In 2018, the OU School of Dance started offering Dance for Parkinson’s classes, coordinated by OU dance professor and alumna Kathleen Redwine. The classes are free for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder affected by a lack of dopamine, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It can cause trembling and stiffness of the arms and legs, slowness of movement, and poor balance and coordination.

As the disease develops, it can impact people’s ability to walk, talk and complete simple tasks.

Dancing can help improve motor coordination, balance, muscle strength and other motor skills, according to studies gathered by Dance for Parkinson’s. It can also improve social skills, self-confidence and psychological well-being.

Dance for Parkinson’s initially started 22 years ago in New York as a partnership between

the Mark Morris Dance Group, a professional modern dance company, and the Brooklyn Parkinson’s Group.

The program now has 28 locations across the country, with over 10,000 participants, according to Dance for Parkinson’s website.

Redwine’s late husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007. His symptoms were mostly treated with medication, but Redwine said she researched alternative supports. They tried exercising, walking and Rock Steady Boxing, which was specifically developed for people with Parkinson’s.

The couple then discovered the Dance for Parkinson’s classes taught by the Oklahoma City Ballet in partnership with the Meinders Center for Movement Disorders, a Mercy Hospital neurology center located in Oklahoma City. Redwine

said she and her husband loved the classes, which encouraged her to start offering them in Norman.

With the help of Michael Bearden, OU School of Dance director, they sent Redwine and another faculty member, Leslie Krause, to attend training classes in New York in the summer of 2018.

A couple months later, OU began offering classes at one of the dance studios located in the Reynolds Performing Arts Center.

Midge said her husband can’t walk as much as he used to, but his mobility has improved because of the class.

“Exercise is the best medicine for people with Parkinson’s disease,” Midge said. “That’s why we look for everything that we can do in order to keep moving because, if you don’t keep moving, you’ll end up where you can’t move at all.”

For some Parkinson’s patients, therapy is found on dance floor
RAY BAHNER/OU DAILY Attendees during the Dance for Parkinson’s class on March 23.

Jessica Lynn, an instructor for OU’s Dance for Parkinson’s and a dance and journalism senior, first heard about the classes after her grandfather, Robert L. Lynn, enrolled in them. Lynn said the disease affected her grandfather’s mobility and brain function by the time she enrolled at OU in 2019.

The classes helped him move his body to help maintain his brain-body connection for much longer while also finding a sense of community, Lynn said. She enjoyed sharing the same studios with her grandfather, as she had dance rehearsals while he attended the classes.

“His caretaker was able to see his progression and was able to notify his wife on how it was going,” Lynn said. “We always encourage caretakers, family members, anybody who wants to join in because not only does it make it more of a community experience, but it’s also really useful for people who are more progressed in the disease and need an extra helping hand.”

Lynn’s grandfather died during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she wasn’t ready to let go of the classes. She decided to take the required training in New York in the summer of 2022.

Redwine said OU has sent 10 undergraduate and graduate students to receive training since OU started to teach the classes.

Redwine teaches ballet and modern dance, but the classes also include tap and jazz. Other teachers offer flamenco and musical theater classes.

“One thing that’s so much fun is that every dance teacher, no matter what style of dance they teach, can bring some of what they know to share with people with Parkinson’s,” Redwine said.

During the pandemic, classes moved online so people could continue exercising. The online classes helped people build a sense of community during times of quarantine and isolation, Redwine said.

When OU returned to in-person classes, meetings were eventually moved to The Well, a wellness center offering various programs, activities, resources and events to help Cleveland County residents’ well-being, according to its website.

Both Midge and Lynn said the change of location was better for the program, as Redwine said turnout rates increased from 10-15 to 20-25 people.

Midge said she and her husband liked being part of a community where people are going through similar experiences. She encouraged people with Parkinson’s to join the “beautiful community.”

Redwine said dancing is good for everyone, including people who don’t have Parkinson’s. She said the program has had a big impact on her, as she saw improvement in her husband’s life and, as a teacher, she gets to see a change in others.

“It’s joyful to be able to share my art form, my passion, with people who have Parkinson’s and with their families, caregivers or friends,” Redwine said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity we have here.”

RAY BAHNER/OU DAILY Coordinator Kathleen Redwine during the Dance for Parkinson’s class on March 23. RAY BAHNER/OU DAILY Attendees during the Dance for Parkinson’s class on March 23.
Dance for Parkinson’s classes are from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Thursdays at The Well, at 210 S. James Garner Ave.



Lack of full ADA compliance creates frustrations among students with, without disabilities

In January 2019, Nick Watts’ life forever changed after contracting the common flu.

Nick Watts, 23, was an OU Law student with several debate accolades and was a former debate coach for Harvard University. He spent the last years of his life navigating college before he died of a heart attack in 2021 as a result of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Usually triggered by infections like the flu, the nerve disorder causes the immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system, which includes the nerves in the limbs. It leaves people with little to no mobility in their limbs or, in the most severe cases, full-body paralysis.

Nick used a wheelchair after his diagnosis in 2019 and relied on his parents for transportation from Edmond to Norman to get dressed and to move around. He struggled to access OU’s facilities and make it to class on time because he didn’t have accommodations that effectively suited his disability.

Nick’s mother, Bev Watts, said she wished her son’s disability was addressed more individually to better accommodate his unique needs. It’s a frustration over 130 students, faculty and staff — varying from people with and without disabilities — shared through an OU Daily accessibility survey, where they reported challenges in receiving case-by-case accommodations.

Nick kept a strict restroom schedule because Guillain-Barré syndrome made it difficult to know when he needed to go. At the time, Bev said the law school had one accessible facility on the top and bottom floors.

Bev said a major part of her son’s accessibility challenges at OU was that people without visible disabilities would stay in the accessible restroom stalls for extended periods. Nick had to wheel himself in and out of the restroom and back to the elevators several times before he found an available accessible stall.

The OU Law School features accessibility features on its first and third floor bathrooms. CONNIE WIGGINS/OU DAILY

Several of Nick’s professors had no exceptions for tardiness, meaning he was often penalized for being late. He was dropped from his secured transactions course two weeks before finals because of tardiness caused by his restroom complications.

Bev, her husband and several of their lawyer colleagues wrote letters to everyone they could think of, including OU administration.

Despite the family’s efforts, OU’s law school and its Accessibility and Disability Resource Center struggled to find a compromise due to the ADRC’s policy on involvement in tardies and absences, which allows professors to determine procedures for their classrooms. This means the ADRC cannot intervene if students with disabilities face difficulties meeting attendance requirements if the professor doesn’t accommodate them.

For students to receive disability or accessibility accommodations at OU, they must directly coordinate with their professors and the ADRC. This

helps all parties set expectations and ensure students are held accountable for attendance, classwork and informing professors of relevant issues tied to their disability, according to the ADRC’s website.

Bev said her main frustrations lie with the ADRC’s policy on absences and tardies and a lack of disability awareness on campus. She said many people don’t understand how difficult life becomes for people with sudden-onset mobile disabilities.

“We didn’t have years and years of dealing with disability offices and accessibility issues. It was all new to us,” Bev said. “The thing isn’t set up for people that have a sudden or drastic change in a condition.”

Two years after Nick’s death, accessibility problems at OU persist as individuals with lifelong and sudden onset disabilities in the community advocate for solutions like accessible doors, closer parking and increased community awareness.

Will Kurlinkus, an associate professor in the English department, tweeted Feb. 20 that some students have difficulty accessing his classroom in Cate Center 2. The building was remodeled roughly six years ago to include accessibility buttons, but Kurlinkus wrote in an email to OU Daily that the layout isn’t functional.

Kurlinkus wrote there aren’t ramps leading to some accessibility buttons, meaning some students and faculty can’t open the doors. He had to give his personal phone number to students so they could enter the building.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessible building ramps must be at least 36 inches wide, with a 1-to-12 ratio slope. Ramps also must be no longer than 30 feet long without adding a rest landing.

In 2020, the OU Student Government Association compiled a list of ADA requirements that OU’s Norman campus buildings didn’t meet. The document was later sent to administration.

SGA split each building into two categories: structural issues and mechanical issues. It encouraged the university to reconstruct buildings with structural issues and detected areas that needed maintenance on buildings with mechanical issues. This would include updates to handicap buttons and automatic doors.

SGA found that George Lynn Cross, Dale, Copeland and Collins halls all lack handicap-accessible stalls in their basements and on the second and third floors.

Despite SGA’s encouragement of campus-wide improvements, students and faculty still feel the issue of a lack of accessibility is persistent on campus.

Some respondents to OU Daily’s survey included people without disabilities who observed how difficult it is for people with disabilities to use things like ramps and elevators at OU. Others responded with personal struggles surrounding invisible disabilities.

Invisible disabilities are physical, mental or neurological conditions not outwardly visible, according to the Invisible Disabilities Association. They can include mental health issues, learning disabilities, chronic pain or hearing impairments.

These disabilities can be equally debilitating, but some doubt their validity because they aren’t easily seen, according to the group.

OU offers various resources for invisible disabilities upon application, such as extended testing times, interpreter access and note-taking assistance, according to the ADRC’s site.

Up to 26 percent of adults in the U.S. have a disability, according to the CDC. This includes people with invisible disabilities: 10.9 percent report a cognitive disability, 6.4 percent can’t run errands alone, 5.7 percent have hearing impairments, 4.9 percent are visually impaired and 3 percent have trouble dressing or bathing themselves.

Lex Sharperson, a drama, dramatics and theater arts freshman, wrote to OU Daily through its survey about how persistent knee pain impacts their experience at OU. They wrote their invisible

Cate Center Two has accessibility buttons at the doors, but these buttons are not easily accessible by ramp.
The thing isn't set up for people that have a sudden or drastic change in a condition.
-BEV WATTS, mother of Nick Watts

disability was compounded by steep and narrow access ramps on campus that were difficult to use.

Sharperson wrote they often face challenges accessing resources at OU. They said, in most cases, OU only considers visible disabilities and, even then, the university only focuses on first-floor access in buildings.

Sharperson wrote certain campus buildings aren’t maintained or designed with invisible disabilities in mind, particularly for people with sensory concerns.

“The fine arts center (proves a good example) of (this,) with the sudden noises from the air conditioning machines and the lights,” Sharperson wrote.

Alyssa Di Iorio, a construction science freshman, responded similarly, writing that parking is an issue because she gets hot flashes from walking for too long. She said this has prevented her from attending classes on several occasions.

How to register with OU’s ADRC:

- Self-identify as a student with a disability and submit documentation to the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center.

In higher education, it is your responsibility as a student to self identify as an individual with a disability. Information regarding documentation can be found at

Higher Education, it is your responsibility as a student to self identify as an individual with a disability. Information regarding documentation can be found at

- Once your documentation has been received, it will be reviewed within 5-15 business days.

OU offers disability parking passes for those who qualify. Both the OU parking pass and the state-issued disability parking permit must be visible to avoid receiving a violation, according to OU Parking Services.

gets those vis violation, to sur

Aloe Marshall, a sophomore, wrote in the survey that his professors and the university seldom offer opportunities for students to take mental health days.

“Accommodations for mental health in classes should be more focused on, as mental health is a struggle that many people experience on campus,” Marshall wrote.

OU professors are required to list resources for mental health services in their syllabuses. They aren’t required to make accommodations for mental health unless the student, professor and ADRC have discussed arrangements, according to ADRC’s site.

OU and other Big 12 universities, like the University of Kansas and Oklahoma State University, offer accommodations like assistive technology and interpreter access for students registered with their disability resource centers.

Assistive technologies at KU include free student access to typing assistance, text-to-speech programs and writing aids. They also offer resources for mobile disabilities that help students with transportation to and from campus and extensive classroom and housing accommodations.

Check your OU email account regularly because you will be contacted once your documentation has been reviewed. If there is a need for additional documentation, this information will be provided in the email you receive from ADRC. If, during the initial appointment, an accommodation requested does not clearly describe the relationship between the barrier and how an accommodation would provide access, additional information may be requested.

-When you receive an email from ADRC, please follow instructions on the email.

-During the initial appointment, ADRC staff and the student will engage in an interactive process to discuss your previous educational experience, past use of accommodations, and what has been effective in providing access. Students will also be introduced to their rights and responsibilities in postsecondary education.

-Accommodations are then developed to promote an equal educational opportunity.

Contact OU’s ADRC: (405) 325-3852,,

can be too complicated, and its resources need to be streamlined and explained.

under overar

At OSU, students can access similar resources like assistive technology, accessible transportation, interpreter access and a form to file grievances.

For KU and OSU, website links to resources and applications are available. OU’s ADRC reports having similar resources for learning disabilities, but the website does not feature links. It also accepts accommodation complaints through OU’s Institutional Equity Office.

resourc reports regis appropri-

According to its site, students must first register with the ADRC with official documentation to receive accommodation access. Then the ADRC will work with applicants to “identify appropriate accommodations through an interactive conversation.”

Sharperson wrote that working with the ADRC

In February, OU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which houses the ADRC, told OU Daily the university follows ADA guidelines completely.

Several students, parents and faculty said they believe being ADA-compliant isn’t enough when it comes to accommodating people with disabilities.

For Nick, the need for accommodations happened fast, and his parents realized the need for the OU ADRC to offer more resources.

Bev said the ADRC needs to consider each student on a case-by-case basis, update necessary facilities used by mobility-impaired people and educate OU students and professors on accessibility issues so they can also be more empathetic.

Bev also said the ADRC office needs to distinguish between invisible and visible disabilities

to counteract policy issues. She said she understands both disabilities are valid, but an overarching policy is difficult to apply to everyone that comes through the ADRC office.

Bev wrote to OU Daily that, despite help from his family and other resources, Nick was unable to successfully navigate OU’s campus.

“We wanted him to continue with school. He wanted to continue school,” Bev said. “We did the best we could, and the (system) worked actively against us.”

ac ar
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