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UNMASK The University of Oklahoma

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We would like to take the time to thank all the University of Oklahoma administration, faculty and support staff for their commitment to providing students with the information, guidance and tools deemed necessary in order to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

Parents and students alike are excited about students attending OU. Parents send their students to OU for the reputation earned over the decades as a top University in the United States. We have high expectations for the school as we do for our students and for the investment made in the student’s education. We all want students to have the opportunity to participate in everything that OU and the City of Norman have to offer.

Many of our students chose “in-person” learning vs online classes because in person classroom instruction has the added benefit of interpersonal interaction between the student and the professors and the student and peers. Professors can more actively participate in student learning, provide feedback as students encounter challenges and promote active learning among students. By choosing “on-campus” learning we agree that the academic, mental, and physical benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks.

Unfortunately, many students were not given the choice to attend in-person classes. Online classes were all that was available to many students. While online classes are productive for some, they are not productive for all. The experience for these students is subpar from what is normally expected from an in-person OU class experience. It is understood that some classes only have prerecorded videos available. This is unacceptable.

Students are excited about attending the University of Oklahoma; however, many are struggling with the isolation and lack of a feeling of belonging. Many are questioning their decision to return after the end of the semester. This is unacceptable to us and should not be acceptable to OU. OU needs to allow the students the option to choose what is right for their health and no one else’s. Part of OU’s job is to help shape our students and to encourage them to be strong, intelligent, and independent thinkers. All of them desire to start to think on their own and determine what is best for them.

Many of us have been told that due to the mask mandates, students and staff were nonsocial, anxious, uncomfortable and some even had trouble breathing and/or communicating with those around them.

We recognize the importance of ensuring the general welfare and protecting the health of the community. Universities are an important part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting the whole student, not just their academic achievement.

With all these items in mind, we request that the University of Oklahoma consider the following petition requests:

  • We believe that at a MINIMUM the requirement for wearing a mask outside on University of Oklahoma property be made optional. The students, administration and faculty would have the personal choice to wear a mask or not to wear a mask.
  • We ask that OU allow students to enter buildings without a mask, if they choose. We ask that the professor decides if masks are required for their classroom or not. An option for enhancing the safety of the faculty would be to require a “normal” temperature of each student before entering the room.
  • We ask that OU provide the option for students to eat in any of the many food establishments on campus while social distancing versus take out service only.
  • We ask that all water fountains be reopened immediately and used with the understanding by all that the University cannot guarantee the cleanliness of each fountain other than from normally scheduled cleanings.
  • We ask that OU provide in-person classes for all students who prefer this format. Online should be an option.

When we reach our goal of 1000 signature, this petition will be presented to the following:

OU President Joseph Harriz, Jr.

Jill Irvine,Ph.D Interim Senior Vice President and Provost

Jason R. Sanders, M.D., Senior Vice President and Provost

Anil Gollahalli, Vice President of the University of Oklahoma and General Counsel to the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma governing the University of Oklahoma

Guy L. Patton, President and CEO of The University of Oklahoma Foundation, Acting Vice President for University Advancement

Eric Conrad, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Sean Burrage, Vice President for Executive Affairs

University of OU regents

Governor of Oklahoma

Mayor of Norman.

End of petition.

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