Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New OBU Student Experience

Sometimes it starts to feel like this is only an ideological power battle-- and it is certainly that. But that kind of battle is exhausting. I'd like to take this week on the blog to give us all time to refuel and remember why this cause is important to us.

We have already discussed that the current administration's loyalty to the BGCO has caused them not to understand the culture of OBU. But what has that meant for the student body?

If the product of OBU is students, then we students and alumni have a lot invested in the future of OBU. We have focused a lot on how this takeover is affecting the faculty, and rightfully so. These problems are the most visible. The faculty have invested the most time-- their whole careers and lives-- in OBU. Their concerns are, indeed, pressing.

But what about those of us who invested a very developmentally significant four years to OBU? What about those of us who are beginning to see our investment add up to close to $100,000? That's a significant chunk of change to put into one experience and piece of paper. We should be concerned with OBU's reputation and with what kinds of students it is producing.

After all, my degree will always say Oklahoma Baptist University on it, whether the values which that names stands for changes or not.

So I want to take this week to share some of the stories of students (or recent alumni) and their experiences since all of these changes started taking place at OBU. Students' voices are the easiest to silence. They hold very little power at the university. If you wait long enough, they'll be gone. After all, those of us who picked up on the changes most quickly were Juniors and Seniors. Come May, most of us will be gone. And in our place will be a new generation of students who do not know what kind of place OBU used to be.

Over the coming days I will share the experience of my classmates in our attempt to understand and/or sway the administration.

In August 2010 when I showed up on Bison Hill, I began to ask questions when I realized a beloved professor had been dismissed-- for reasons no one could seem to account. I was not the only student who was alarmed. As we began to pull together our resources-- calling alumni, talking to faculty and staff-- we began to see that the changes at OBU were indicative of a much larger problem, a problem against which we needed to stand.

Many things happened over the course of that school year. There was an underground newspaper. There was much discussion over possibilities for peaceful demonstrations. There were many phone calls, many meetings-- trying as hard as we could to get our story straight and figure out what to do.

Any upperclassmen could see that Owen's Hall was buzzing with fury.

We knew we needed to maintain an effort to save our dear University.

Some students, at different times in the year, acted boldly and directly. Before these students are forgotten as graduates who, like all of us must, have moved their lives elsewhere, I would like to empower their voices. Over the rest of this week, look for their stories.

If you have a story you would like to contribute, please email me at veronica.pistone@gmail.com


  1. An underground newspaper?! How did you that off?

  2. The underground newspaper, The Norm, was written anonymously by a group of students and distributed through the OBU mailboxes. At least two issues came out while I was a student there, but I am unsure if it has continued. I think one issue came out early last semester. But, again, I am unsure.

  3. I appreciate your thoughtful article, and please do not take offense. However, trust me. The current generation of students simply do not know what kind of place OBU used to be. It was truly, truly great. There was no better school in the country. No, not one.


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