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?
- 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 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.