Documentary Treatment: Rejected by your own family: The Sooner Scandal

Documentary Treatment

Theme: Real Sooners

Working Title: Rejected by your own family: The Sooner Scandal


This 30 minute documentary will explore the term “Sonner Family” and analyze it from a perspective often omitted by OU officials, such as President David L. Boren. The documentary will tell stories of some of the members of the OU community who are marginalized by the community because of their ethnicity, religion, sexuality and/or gender expression.



We start the film with stock footage of displays of solidarity in the OU community. Clips from the homecoming parade, football games, the University Programming Board’s events, move-in-day into the freshmen dorms and more. During that montage, we get a voiceover, from the interviewer of the film, of David L. Boren’s statement after the SAE chapters removal from campus.

Statement from University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren:

TO: All Students, Faculty, and Staff

To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you.  You are disgraceful.  You have violated all that we stand for.  You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves “Sooners.”  Real Sooners are not racist.  Real Sooners are not bigots.  Real Sooners believe in equal opportunity.  Real Sooners treat all people with respect.  Real Sooners love each other and take care of each other like family members.

Effective immediately, all ties and affiliations between this University and the local SAE chapter are hereby severed.  I direct that the house be closed and that members will remove their personal belongings from the house by midnight tomorrow. Those needing to make special arrangements for positions shall contact the Dean of Students.

All of us will redouble our efforts to create the strongest sense of family and community. We vow that we will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue.  There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.

David L. Boren
University of Oklahoma

A focus will be placed on the third paragraph, a few of the words and the first paragraph, such as “the strongest sense of family and community” and “zero tolerance for racism” will be bolded when that part of the statement comes onto the screen. When the statement has been read and the montage has finished rolling we follow the interviewer of the film walking on the south oval, sitting down on a bench. Then we cut to a medium shot, taken in front of them and they state:

This statement came out in 2015, now, 2 years later, President Boren has announced his intention to retire at the end of the school year as a president but racism and discrimination is still prevalent on the OU’s campus.


We now see a series of interviews done with various members of the OU community. These individuals are all concentrating on changing their own communities on the OU campus from within. The first individual we see is Sam.

Sam is a sophomore, at the school of drama. She is from Mexico and studied at an international boarding school, prior to her arrival a OU. Sam talks us through her experiences being an international student at OU. She tells us a few stories about how she has been screamed at and harassed on the street and told to go home, something that drastically increased after the 2016 presidential elections.  She also discusses how she has tried to use her presence at the school of drama and in the theatre community at OU to raise awareness about micro-aggression in the theatre community. She lists various things she has tried to influence, such as the use of black face in a student production and the use of accents as a form of mockery in OU improv shows. She also lists how and why she has been listened to and how she has been ignored in other instances.

The next person we see is Julia.

Julia is a graduate student in the school of international studies. She is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that belonged to the former Soviet Union. Prior to her graduate studies she spent four years pursing a bachelor’s degree in international business at OU. Julia speaks of her experiences with creating a platform for discussions on international issues and her political activism. She speaks on how she is often ignored because of her accent, her being a woman and the fact that her concentration is in Latin American studies while she is from Europe. She also speaks of instances that have happened to her on OU’s campus, such as being called out on OU campus for speaking Spanish on the phone instead of English.

Other individuals that could be included in this documentary are: an international student from Egypt with a Christian background;, an international student from Israel; a Mexican-American student that came to the US as a young kid through DACA; an international student from the Maldives with a Muslim background.


We are brought back to the bench with our interviewer who will make points on what has been done wrong and what can be done to improve the campus. They will raise the question on what we can do to make everyone feel included on the OU campus and what the administration can do action vise, instead of making statements that do not impact anyone.

List of Questions for Interviews

  • Why did you decide to come to Oklahoma?
  • Has it met your expectations?
  • Do you feel safe on the campus?
  • Have you ever felt discriminated against because of one or more of your identities?
  • Do you feel like an active and accepted member of the OU community?
  • How has your experience at OU been shaped by others on the campus?
  • What could the administration do differently?
  • Has OU done its part in making you feel included?

Shooting locations

OU Campus

  • The spoon holder in the North Oval
  • Library, great reading room
  • Studio D in Gaylord College
  • In front of the administrative building
  • Outside Sarkey’s on their patio
  • In the school of international studies

My background

My name is Anna Margret Sverrisdottir and I am a sophomore, Creative Media Production major at the University of Oklahoma. I have worked with various graphic mediums, such as being the yearbook and school newspaper’s editor in high school. I work with media outreach, public relations and web management at the Experimental Geography Studio at the University of Oklahoma as well as doing PR for various student organizations on the campus. I am currently working on a documentary about a tattoo artist in Oklahoma.

An Exercise in Print Journalism Writing

The Lexington Wildlife Management Area and surrounding region was devastated after a wildfire blazed through Clevland County yesterday. Current weather trends have provided optimal conditions for wildfires, with fires hitting areas around Oklahoma and Kansas burning tens of thousands of acres, destroyed buildings and resulted in evacuations, according to Garrett Norton.

Norton, spokesman for the Cleveland County Rural Fire District 1, said that the strong winds made it hard to control the fire.

“We thought we had it controlled about eight different times and then the wind would pick up and a new hotspot would go up.” said Norton.

The fire burned 250 acres in eastern Cleveland County, 75 of which belong to the Lexington Wildlife Management Area. With the support from the Oklahoma Department of Forestry and the Lexington Fire Department the fire was declared controlled at 6 p.m. yesterday with no casualties reported. Authorities have yet to determine the origin of the fire.

A local family, living just west of the wildlife management area, lost property to the fire. One of their farmhouses, storing a tractor and hay bales, was destroyed. C. Ralph Johnson estimates the property damage he and his wife have endured to be around $60,000. Johnson and his wife do not have insurance to help pay for the damages.

Due to the hot, dry weather, The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag fire warning through the weekend and people are urged to not burn anything outdoors.

Wine and beer festival surprises and surpasses hopes

Oklahoma Wine Walk and Brew Fest’s fifth annual event was held in Norman on Oct. 21, with over 20 different wineries, breweries and distilleries from across the state participating.

Local wine and beer enthusiasts flocked to the event to taste new brews and wines, perhaps finding their new sorite drink. The event was free to all, but if a guest was over 21 and chose to participate in the tasting the ticket price was $25, which provided 15 tasting vouchers.

The crowd had already started to line up at 2 p.m. when the event was opened to the public, VIP guests had according to the events webpage had 30 minutes in the area before the crowd arrived. Some confusion arose about the different lines forming, as no signage had been placed at the entryway but was quickly resolved by a staff member.

Upon entering the area our attendees  were greeted by a live performance of selected songs from “Little Shop of Horror” by local children. The area was clearly divided between the breweries and the wineries, so participants could quickly find what interested them the most.

Ryan Palmer, a self-proclaimed beer enthusiast, came to this event to experience the different local brews.

“My impression is that the festival is aimed more towards wine lovers than beer lovers due to the different sizes in venues [allocated for breweries and wineries]. I was expecting an equal number of wine and beer vendors due to craft beer popularity rising and wine being rather stable,” Palmer said.

Despite the slight disappointment in the small number of breweries, Palmer was pleased that his favorite local brewery participated in the event — (405) Brewing Co.

Trae Carson, co-owner of (405) Brewing Co. attended the festival, where the company had set up a stand. The brewery, which opened in January 2015, has participated in the festival since it first opened up to breweries in 2016.

(405) is a Norman based brewery which keeps all its products in Oklahoma. Carson believes that the festival was a “good fit” for the company as “it is important to stay connected to the Norman community” and the festival offers a good platform to reach out to the local community.

When asked about the merging of the wine and beer cultures with the festival Carson replies on a positive note. “I have never been to an event that merges then two, I believes it is good for the attendees.”

Carson and Palmer had a common favorite beer, the FPR brewed by (405). It is a strong coffee stout brewed from coffee from Mariposa Coffee Roastery, a roastery located in Norman. According to Carson the beer is never brewed the same as Mariposa Coffee employees make a different coffee blend for each batch of beer, keeping the beer different each time it is produced. Keeping the sample tasted at the festival different from the (405) FPR you might buy in a month’s time.

A Cultural Experience

In this excercise we were asked to go and explore a culture unlike our own, I decided to go and visit a Mormon Church.

From the very first interaction, I felt welcomed by the church community. I was greeted as a friend during the first interactions, both through email, as well as when I entered their church. I decided to go to an event called Friday Forum, an event where members of the community have an opportunity to share their thoughts on a topic they have been asked to prepare a small talk on by one of the elders. Afterwards the church serves a community lunch, which offered a great opportunity to talk to some of the members of the church.

When I entered the church on the 29th of September it felt very homely and inviting. As soon as Avery and I walked into the room we were welcomed and a group of individuals introduced themselves to us. We introduced ourselves and explained the project that we were working on. We then joined two girls and walked over to the room, in which the forum was to be held. The room was set up in a classroom fashion, with rows of desks and a podium in front of them. The forum started with a prayer and song, something that I am not hugely unfamiliar with as I grew up attending a Lutheran church. The sermon then continued with an elder stepping up to the podium inviting a couple to speak on a talk given previously that year. The talk was on how to keep the religious values alive in your family. They spoke about this from an emotional standpoint, being new parents themselves and wanting to raise their son in the faith. After this we moved over to the room where we originally started our conversation as lunch was being served.

Avery and I were invited to stay for the lunch and one of the girls we originally spoke to invited us to sit and talk to her over the course of the meal. It was very interesting to hear from a Sister who was doing her mission trip. She had been assigned Oklahoma as her area. She was very open about her experiences and I felt like all my questions were very welcome. As she was on her mission trip I got curious about how they were planned and executed. One of the things that came up in our discussion was the difference between the female and male mission trips. The women’s trips are 1.5 years long, 6 moths shorter than the men’s. This was not the only difference, during community events, such as Sunday service, men and women were separated into two groups. This allows them to speak of matters important to each of the groups, perhaps things they are not comfortable speaking to in front of the other group. Honestly, this is not something I personally agree with; equality is extremely important in my mind, so I would not be comfortable with this arrangement. However, I can understand and appreciate how this can be beneficial to the community.

I have to say that a lot of things surprised me about the event. I had a lot of prejudice against the community. Not in the manner that I acted on them but rather a set of ideals that had at some point or another heard about the religious community and I believed they followed. Some of them were related to clothing, others were related to grooming. People were less conservatively dressed than I expected and some of the men had long hair and were more androgynously dressed than I had perceived would be seen as appropriate by the community.

This was an eye-opening experience for me. At this event I saw many similarities to my very liberal church upbringing back in Iceland, an experience very different from the one I thought I would have. The community was very welcoming and accepting of views different from theirs and willing to discuss topics, rather than shutting down conversations they might find uncomfortable.