House of Representatives

Humphrey Asks OU Athletic Director to Address Reports of Mandatory Participation in Student Unity Ma

6/9/2022 10:34:00 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, this week sent a letter to University of Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione asking for a response regarding reports he used his position to compel OU student athletes to participate in a unity march.

Humphrey represents House District 19 in southeast Oklahoma but stays in Slaughterville when the House is in session. He said it is through the relationships he's built with many in this community as well as from the many students from his district that attend OU that he decided to get involved in this matter.

Below is the text of the letter.

University of Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione:

Once again, I am requesting your response to my following reasonable inquiry: Your position as University of Oklahoma athletic director has enormous influence in our state. I have received reports that you have used your influence and office to compel all OU student athletes to participate in a “unity march.” Moreover, it is my understanding this march was to support activist organizations like Black Lives Matters (BLM) and other so-called social justice groups. Also, there are concerns about embroidered patches promoting BLM and/or other radical organizations on athletic uniforms.

If these allegations are true, please specify how and by what authority you are forcing student athletes to participate and promote this social agenda, particularly when BLM has been exposed as a money source for certain of its paid leadership. Accordingly, I would ask you to answer if you have used state and federal resources in the forms of programs, equipment, and apparel to advocate, benefit and advertise for these socialist political organizations. Consequently, I am requesting you verify the cost to the university for requiring all student athletes to march in the “unity march.” Also, I want you to document the cost of having these patches placed on uniforms, apparel or other items.

I also am requesting you provide accurate information on any contribution you, the University, or its foundations received from activist organizations for advancing their agendas. This includes, but is not limited to, BLM. I trust you will not withhold any requested information and if you have doubts, please contact me for clarification.  If you choose not to provide this requested information, please explain in writing why you are not providing it and your reason for doing so.

I believe two (2) weeks should provide adequate time to produce the requested documents and information. The Oklahoma public needs and deserves answers as to why OU may be advancing a political agenda the majority opposes. Free speech and expression do not tolerate forced political agendas that silence and/ or punish those who oppose activities like the “unity march.”