Category: Diversity

News and opportunities pertaining to diversity.

Jose Antonio Vargas Speaking at OU

Vargas  Gaylord Speakers

The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma is excited to invite you to an opportunity to hear and engage with one of our nation’s boldest voices on the topic of undocumented immigrants and citizenship.

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, immigration reform activist and renowned speaker, Jose Antonio Vargas is coming to the University of Oklahoma on Oct. 13. He will speak at Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in Catlett Music Center at 7 p.m., along with students and leaders from Oklahoma-based Aspiring Americans. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is the host for this event.

Vargas admitted he was an undocumented immigrant in a groundbreaking essay published in The New York Times Magazine in 2011. The article stunned media and political circles throughout the country and attracted worldwide coverage. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote.

Vargas’ work centers on the changing American identity. He is the founder of Define American, a non-profit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America, and the executive editor of #EmergingUS, a multimedia news platform he conceived focusing on race, immigration and the complexities of multiculturalism. In August MTV aired, as part of its Look Different campaign, White People, a television special he directed on what it means to be young and white in America.
Vargas wrote, produced and directed Documented, a documentary feature film on his undocumented experience.

The Hispanic American Student Association will show this documentary in the Gaylord Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Auditorium Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.

The Gayord College is grateful to partner with many organizations to bring this speaker to the college. Those partners include the Hearst Foundation, Latino Student Life, Aspiring Americans, College of Arts and Sciences, Price College of Business, Diversity Enrichment Programs, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, Administration and Finance, College of International Studies, UWC Davis Scholars, OU College of Law, Enrollment Services, the Office of University Community, OU WebComm, and OU Housing and Food Services.

Stephanie Frederic delivers convocation speech

Stephanie Frederic delivers 2015 convocation speechStephanie Frederic, a 1982 Radio/TV/Film graduate, delivered an inspiring speech to our spring graduating class encouraging them to be open to different pathways in life because occasionally you need to “pivot” from the direction you are going in order to seize an opportunity.

Gaylord College graduated 213 undergraduates and 25 graduate students including one Ph.D. at our spring convocation on May 9.

Frederic is owner of FGW, a film production company in Los Angeles. She was named a JayMac Distinguished Alumni in 2015. Read more about Frederic.


­Gaylord College hires coordinator of community inclusivity

Dorion BillupsThe Gaylord College has hired Dorion Billups (2013, BA in Journalism; 2015, MA in Adult & Higher Education) to serve as the new Coordinator of Community Inclusivity. He will join the Gaylord College student services team in the Paul D. Massad Student Services Center.

Diversity and inclusiveness have long been important to the Gaylord College and valued in the journalism and mass communication fields, so even before the SAE incident became national news, the Gaylord College leadership team had identified these areas which needed to be addressed at the academic unit level as well as the campus level.

“When Unheard swept the OU campus, we knew there was urgency in helping our students to experience a deeper and more positive connection with one another, the Gaylord College, and the University of Oklahoma,” said Assistant Dean John Hockett.

Under Dean Joe Foote’s leadership scarce funds were identified and designated to create this key position making Gaylord College one of the first units on campus to directly address these issues.

As the new coordinator of community inclusivity, Billups will work with current and prospective students in the Gaylord College advising student groups, fostering and organizing large-scale mentorship programs, recruitment, academic advising, and helping to foster increased diversity throughout the Gaylord College, said Hockett.

“I am looking forward to creating a greater sense of unity throughout the college by working with the deans, faculty, staff, unity groups, and international students to highlight all of the wonderful communities within Gaylord College,” said Billups.

Billups is a 2013 journalism graduate and will complete his master’s in higher education in May. He brings to the position knowledge of student programming and a keen understanding of the value of community from working with OU Camp Crimson and the Graduation office. He is also very familiar with Gaylord College and its five majors after serving as a Gaylord Ambassador as an undergraduate.

Mobile-video project, “Talk With Us: Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods,” launched

Talk With UsGaylord College students and staff at nonprofit news organization Oklahoma Watch have launched a mobile-video project entitled, “Talk With Us: Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods,” at

This collaboration creates a virtual conversation between low-income residents and public leaders about a wide range of issues facing some of the city’s struggling areas. About 30 virtual conversations are posted online, along with data and multimedia elements. Additional videos are being recorded.

Gaylord College students and Oklahoma Watch reporters recorded short videos using mobile devices in northeast, south and west Oklahoma City, asking low-income residents to describe pressing concerns in their neighborhoods and lives. The videos are then shown to government officials or community leaders and their responses are videotaped.

The project is made possible by a grant from the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The grant is one of 12 awarded nationwide.

“We are excited about the opportunity for Gaylord College students to participate in a project that engages them with real-world issues that matter to Oklahoma City residents,” said David Craig, the college’s associate dean. “Doing these videos is exposing them to a broader, more diverse community than they find on campus.”

David Fritze, executive editor of Oklahoma Watch, said, “The project is intended to provide a deeper understanding of the day-to-day challenges that people face in low-income communities and to amplify their voices among public officials and leaders who make the decisions that affect the residents’ lives.”

In conjunction with the mobile-video project, the organizations are presenting a public Q&A forum on April 16 to discuss challenges in low-income neighborhoods in south Oklahoma City. The “Talk With Us” forum will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church gymnasium, 123 S.W. 25th St., Oklahoma City.

Fritze will moderate a discussion with Oklahoma City Councilwoman Meg Salyer, Oklahoma City Public Schools Board Member Gloria Torres, and Attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez about issues they see and deal with in south Oklahoma City. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to and come with questions.

Student journalists cover national SAE story from insiders’ perspective

Not On Our Campus
Photo by Tyler Woodward/OU Daily

On Sunday, March 8, video of some members of the OU chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity engaging in a racist chant caught national media attention. While many professional newsgroups covered the story from afar, OU’s student journalists were on campus, covering the story from an insider’s perspective as it unfolded.

The innovative News Crowd social media aggregation tool has allowed mobile journalists to cover every aspect of the SAE reaction on Twitter, including fact-based coverage as well as personal reactions.

The Oklahoma Daily began coverage as soon as the initial e-mail tip was received in the Daily newsroom. SAE was on the cover of the Monday, March 8, print edition of the Daily, despite production for that paper falling on the same day the videos were posted. Since the story broke, the Daily has published coverage of the protests as well as statements from campus organizations and readers on the incident. The Daily also created a special edition recapping the first week’s events which was published March 13, this issue and others can be read online.

OU Nightly devoted its entire Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10 night broadcasts to different aspects of the fallout and continues to intimately cover campus reaction. To see the team’s continued coverage of the situation, head to to watch full broadcasts.

Both the Nightly’s and Daily’s social media accounts have been focused on bringing the OU community the most up-to-date information on news, events and movements happening around campus in reaction to the videos.

Gaylord College students found and produced stories on the SAE videos, that larger media outlets didn’t have the time or manpower to cover. and have done a fantastic job ensuring the OU community has access to as much information and as many different opinions as possible, regarding this situation.