Given the week that Oklahoma State football program had, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Mike Gundy’s wearing of a t-shirt with the logo of a far-right news organization received a swift and very public Twitter rebuke last Monday from star running back Chuba Hubbard. The two subsequently put out a video in which Gundy promised unspecified change while Hubbard stated he was wrong for taking the issue public. The running back added another layer to the issue, stating Tuesday he wasn’t wrong for what he said but reiterated he was wrong for how he went about it. That same day, the Oklahoma State head coach issued a video apology in which he expressed disgust after learning of OAN’s stance on Black Lives Matter. That same week, old allegations of Gundy directed the N-word at Colorado players during his time as an Oklahoma State football player also resurfaced.
With that as a backdrop, Oklahoma State announced Wednesday the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Council. Below is the school’s release on the newly-formed group:
The Oklahoma State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced that Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, the university’s Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, will chair OSU Athletics’ newly-formed Council For Diversity and Inclusion.
Under Dr. Kirksey’s leadership, OSU has been nationally recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion with more than 25 prestigious awards and recognitions. In 2019, Oklahoma State became one of just eight institutions of higher learning in the country to earn the highly sought-after Higher Education Excellence In Diversity (HEED) Award for eight consecutive years. The university has also been honored by Insight Into Diversity magazine each of the last three years as a Diversity Champion, which is a select number of HEED Award institutions exhibiting an exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“OSU is a land-grant institution with an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Kirksey. “Over the past decade, OSU has emerged as a national leader and a role model across higher education and beyond. While we still have work to do, the establishment of athletics’ Council For Diversity and Inclusion is a significant and genuine effort to broaden and deepen the university’s commitment to a culture of inclusion. The council is our most recent structural engagement to effect meaningful and lasting change across the OSU Family.”
The newly formed council will be a permanent entity in OSU Athletics and is being populated by a cross-section of individuals from the OSU campus, OSU Athletics, current student-athletes and alumni. It will be housed in the university’s Division of Institutional Diversity.
“We are grateful that Dr. Kirksey has agreed to lead our efforts moving forward,” said Chad Weiberg, OSU’s Deputy Director of Athletics. “The athletic department could make a lot of promises and declarations about what we will be doing, but our future actions will speak for us. Under Dr Kirksey’s leadership, we will be very intentional in our efforts, but our driving goal will be to get better.