Volume 20
Diversity on Campus:
Monthly Newsletter | April 2022
From the VP Desk
April Is Fair Housing Month

As we near the end of this academic year, now is the time when many will transition out of their current housing spaces and begin the dreaded hunt for new accommodations for the following year. Please remember that April is designated as Fair Housing Month. Many may not see this as a DEI concern; however, gaining access to affordable and quality housing continues to be a struggle for many communities.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), April is when we celebrate National Fair Housing Month. The Fair Housing Act was passed on April 11, 1968. This law was designed to protect Americans from facing discrimination in selling or buying houses.

Having access to quality and affordable housing is a basic human concept and entitlement for people. As a community, we have the right to be free of any form of discrimination. In our communities, people from diverse backgrounds should be warmly welcomed as our neighbors. As we continue to promote a sense of belonging, remember that diversity, equity and inclusion are the path to belonging.

Some discriminatory language in home rentals and home buying can be illegal, as the verbiage used in advertisements such as
  • Suitable for single professionals
  • Ideal for a Christian couple
  • Great for working folks or students

To avoid making such statements inadvertently, stick to providing details about your property rather than describing the tenant you want.

A discriminatory tenants screening process may also be illegal.
  • Are you divorced?
  • Are you married?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Where are your parents originally from?
  • Do you go to church?

These questions are considered illegal according to the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Imposing different terms and conditions when it comes to tenants may also be illegal.
  • Refusing to rent or accommodate a person with disabilities
· e.g., no pet policy, does not apply to a person with a disability when
--they need a service dog.
· e.g., the tenant may modify their units to include installing a ramp or
--installing special faucets or door handles due to limited hand use.
  • Charging different rental rates for similar properties or units based on specific criteria.

As a tenant you should always be treated fairly and with respect!

Belinda Higgs Hyppolite, Ed.D.
Community Events
#CareCampaign: Office of DEI,
Project Threshold and the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center Team Up for the Big Event!

Launched during DEI Week, the #CareCampaign has since been an opportunity to gain tips, resources and encouragement to better care for yourself, those in your community and the environment.

In April, the campaign continued at the Big Event, the official OU day for community service. This was an opportunity for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Project Threshold and the ADRC to come together and demonstrate their care for the community.

But how does the Big Event create a community of care?
Find out in our interview with graduate assistant and creator of the #CareCampaign, Jackie Howell, as she discusses the Big Event and the campaign alongside other ways to help the community.
Q1: How did you become involved with the Big Event? And how has it affected you?

JH: I became involved with the Big Event through various organizations during my undergraduate time at OU. I thought of the Big Event as a great opportunity to create a community of care under the Division of DEI's #CareCampaign. My involvement with the Big Event has empowered me to care for my community and environment. Each year, I leave feeling fulfilled and purposeful in giving my time and effort to a person or place that needed it. 

Q2: In what ways does the Big Event create a community of care at OU?

JH: The Big Event creates a community of care by providing the opportunity and tools to care for communities that otherwise would not receive attention. These facilities, organizations and groups feel cared for when people are working to make their spaces better. In return, those organizations or groups can better care for their community members. This process triggers a ripple effect of caring and kindness. 

Q3: What is your favorite memory from your time participating in the Big Event?

JH: My favorite memory with the Big Event was actually this year. Spending time with the Office of DEI team, ADRC and Project Threshold in making a space beautiful by gardening and painting was fun. We are often in the office working on projects that are weeks away. Sharing fellowship and working towards a goal that immediately impacts those around us was a great experience.

Q4: As the creator of the #CareCampaign, what other events or activities would you like to see at OU?

JH: I would like to see the #CareCampaign host a thank you tour for university staff and employees who are often overlooked, but are essential workers for us. They include food service workers, facilities workers and custodial staff that works night shifts. In general, I want the #CareCampaign to be an ongoing movement that motivates people to go above and beyond to care for themselves, those in their community and the environment. 

Q5: What inspired you to develop the #CareCampaign?

JH: Creating a Community of Care was the theme of the 2022 DEI week and a mantra that has guided the Division of DEI's efforts this academic year. Many people want to do this, but do not know how. So, I wanted to create an ongoing campaign that makes creating communities of care simple and common practice in all spaces for everyone.  
Level Up With Mary Nhin-Grit Is Your Superpower: How to Create Life-Changing Success

Join the Division of DEI to celebrate the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month with Mary Nhin, the creator of Ninja Life Hacks.

Come and learn from Nhin how to find or create success in various aspects of life.

Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, April 27

Norman Campus: Price College of Business Lounge (in-person event)

OU-Tulsa and Health Sciences Center: Webinar (virtual event)
Register here to attend virtually.
VP Belinda Higgs Hyppolite Inspires the Members of Women in Leadership With Vision and Purpose
As the keynote speaker at the Women in Leadership meeting on March 23, Vice President Belinda Higgs Hyppolite delivered a powerful speech on how women can dare to lead.

In her presentation, Heels of Power: Women in Leadership,” Hyppolite empowered attendees to lead by the acronym “Be Daring.” 

In the words of Brené Brown:

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.
News and Involvement Opportunities
Thank You for Giving

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on April 14 during OU Day of Giving. Your support allows us to nurture a community of care.

dr. hyppolite and students
black medical professionals
The Need for Increased Diversity in the Healthcare Field

For Black History Month the Nurse Journal explored the impact of nursing education on increasing diversity in the health care field.

Although, Black nurses have worked in the health care industry for centuries, the challenges they have experienced have persisted and worsened.

Jamil Norman, an R.N. and committed advocate for increasing diversity in nursing and nursing education, spoke with the NurseJournal regarding ongoing issues in the community.

ADRC Spotlight: Deaf History Month. A Lesson With Gary Davis
Master of social work student and Accessibility and Disability Resource Center graduate assistant, Ellie Pochyly, consistently looks for ways to advocating and supporting the voices of those who are not always heard. With National Deaf History Month approaching, Ellie wanted to provide real and impactful insight into persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

While researching and writing an article on the history of deaf persons, she sought a member of the OU community who had lived experience within the deaf or hard of hearing community for greater understanding.

Gary Davis, a deaf and first full-time American Sign Language (ASL) professor at OU, was ecstatic to bring more light and understanding to the deaf community by sharing lived experiences of the deaf and hard of hearing, exhibiting ASL learning opportunities for viewers and providing other facts about the community.

Watch his powerful video above and read Ellie's article for more information on the history of Deaf History Month.

health equity and social justice conference logo
Monday, April 18:  
“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-Patient Journey” with Jevin Koleth, M.P.A.-H.C.A.

Tuesday, April 19:  
“The Importance of Social Justice and Health Equity in Patient Experience” with Shawna M. Reshard, M.D.

Wednesday, April 20:
“The Tale of Telehealth: The Impact of Health Policy on Patient Care, Social Justice and Health Equity” with Wonha Kim M.D., M.P.H.

Thursday, April 21:
“Patience for your Patient” with Sharray Reed, Patient Care Strategist B.S. R.T. (R.) (M.R.)
Health Equity and Social Justice Justice Conference 2022

The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is pleased to welcome you to the Health, Equity and Social Justice Conference, a four-day virtual Conference from April 18-21.

Each session will take place from noon-1 p.m. CST.

This year, the conference focuses on “Elevating the Patient Experience through Patient Centered Care.”

A robust selection of medical professionals will be speaking about providing high-quality care to patients.

Earn four OUCHA education hours by attending all four sessions!

Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy

The Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy (AHPSA) is now accepting applications! AHPSA is a five-day academy that tours all seven health professional colleges at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. AHPSA students get to engage with professional staff and faculty in the medical field through hands-on experience. The academy is free of charge and will take place from July 11 to 15, in person.

Applications close on June 10.
A committee will select the top 50 students to attend the academy.

Please address questions to:
DEI Speaks
Native American Language Word of the Day Campaign by Amy Lyons-Ketchum

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.Nelson Mandela
Did you know that Oklahoma has been designated as a linguistic hotspot by The Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages? Our state has a high concentration of severely endangered languages, a high level of linguistic diversity and a relatively low level of language documentation. You can learn more about the Native American languages spoken in Oklahoma from the Sam Noble Museum's collections and research. 

This April, DEI is celebrating the Native American languages spoken in Oklahoma by sharing “Word of the Day” posts on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
We kicked off the month with the Mvskoke (Creek) language, a member of the Muskogean language family that is closely related to the Seminole language. Mvskoke (Creek) is taught at OU by Melanie Frye. The first word of the of the “Word of the Dayseries was mvhavy ‘teacher’. 

The Word of the Dayposts includes words from the Wichita, Chickasaw, Potawatomi, Kiowa, Comanche, Seneca, Osage, Caddo, Lenape, and Wyandot languages. 

However, Oklahoma is home to 39 federally recognized tribes and their languages. You can hear and see examples of these languages by visiting the 2022 Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair's YouTube channel.  
Kid's Corner: Native American and Indigenous Heritage History Month by Saasha Reese

The book Jingle Dancer  tells the story of young Jenna making her dream of having a dress to sing and dance at the upcoming powwow a reality. The story shares the tradition of jingle dancing in Jenna's family and intertribal community. This is a great book about cultural traditions that are celebrated during tribal gatherings and powwows. Jingle Dancer is written by Cynthia Leitich Smith and illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. 

Another great opportunity to celebrate our American Indian community is to bring the littles in your life out to the 108th Annual Spring Powwow hosted by The American Indian Student Association from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 23 on the South Oval lawn.

Training and Development
OU Employee Resource Groups

At OU, the Employee Resource Groups are an open forum for individuals with a shared identity to build community and a place of belonging.

ERGs are available at all three campuses and include Black faculty and staff, African American faculty and staff (OUHealth), Latinx Coalition, Indigenous Faculty and Staff Circle, LGBTQ+ faculty and staff, Middle Eastern North African faculty and staff, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi Indian faculty and staff.

For any questions about ERG, please send an email to
Request Customized Training With DEI
In a community of care, members are engaged in continuous education via workshops and training sessions like those scheduled by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. These training options are listed on the DEI calendar.

Sometimes, however, training needs to be customized to fit the experiences of a college or administrative department. To request customized training or to facilitate conversations, we invite you to complete an online form.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is looking forward to your requests!
Final Thoughts
Monthly Observance:
April 2022

April is Native American and Indigenous History month alongside Deaf History month, Arab Heritage month and several other observances and celebrations.
Discover the other celebrations, observances and awareness events of the month.