Oklahoma U. now has a 24/7 bias hotline you can call for hurt feelings

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/09/12/oklahoma-u-now-has-a-247-bias-hotline-you-can-call-for-hurt-feelings/


After months of delays, the University of Oklahoma (OU) has finally launched a 24/7 bias incident hotline, so that students can immediately and anonymously report bias, discrimination, mental harassment and other sources of profound psychological distress.

The hotline was requested by OU Unheard, an activist group for black OU students, and Indigenize OU, a group of American Indian activists. The two groups argued that an anonymous reporting system would make them feel “more safe” at the school, which suffered a national scandal in 2015 when members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon were filmed singing a racist song.

Announced in March 2016, the hotline was supposed to be operational within a month, yet several months passed without an update. In the last few weeks, activists started to shame the school online using the hashtag #yOUrbad, posting the alleged discrimination and microaggressions they were encountering that they wanted to report to the hotline, but couldn’t due to its non-existence. The mounting pressure may have affected the school, which abruptly announced that the hotline would go online Friday. OU, for its part, blamed the delay on a switch to a new third-party vendor and the need to train the vendor’s staff on the new system.

To justify the wait, the new hotline, operated by EthicsPoint, comes with a few bells and whistles. Users can either call a toll-free number or file a complaint on the hotline’s website, and all complaints may be made anonymously.  The phone hotline is staffed by a real human at all hours (the Daily Caller News Foundation called at 4 a.m. and quickly reached one), and is available in both English and Spanish. Besides covering “bias incidents” and harassment, the hotline also includes options for reporting more conventional problems, ranging from radiation safety hazards to abuse of leave policies by staff.

Still, OU’s own announcement makes it clear the hotline is primarily for reporting alleged “bias, racial discrimination, physical or mental harassment [and] misconduct” on campus. But the school’s announcement left some people annoyed by saying the hotline was inspired by “incidents on other campuses,” rather than by the school’s own problems.

“OU will never admit it has campus climate issues, no matter how much evidence, no matter how many incidents,” OU graduate Lena Tenney complained on Twitter.

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