In the immediate wake of a controversy surrounding head football coach Mike Gundy's wearing of a T-shirt promoting a far-right news network, Oklahoma State University has announced the formation of a Council for Diversity and Inclusion.
A photo of Gundy in his shirt featuring the logo for OAN, the One American News network known for giving credence to unfounded conspiracy theories, prompted OSU linebacker Chuba Howard, to tweet June 15 that he would “not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
Gundy later apologized.
Jason Kirksey, the university's vice president for institutional diversity and chief diversity oifficer, will chair the program. The 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.
"OSU is a land-grant institution with an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion," Kirksey said in a statement on OSU's website. "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."
"We are grateful that Dr. Kirksey has agreed to lead our efforts moving forward," added 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."