To the OU family -
We, members of the Stewart Harrel Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America in Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma, wish to register our disapproval of the installation of Tom Otterness’ ‘Covered Wagon’ statue, a donation by William Obering, located on the front lawn of Gaylord College. As young public relations professionals, we are taught that transparency is critical to an organization’s reputation and are particularly concerned about the lack of transparency which preceded the installment of the statue, as well as what we have come to learn about the artist’s past.
As one of the nation’s top journalism and mass communications programs, we are very proud of our public image and the successful recruitment efforts which have contributed to our success. We believe the statue and its placement outside Gaylord Hall will negatively impact the image of our college, our recruiting efforts and potential donor and alumni support. Most of all, we want to express our solidarity with members of the OU community who feel disrespected by the statue’s reference to Oklahoma’s colonialist past, as well as the artist’s mistreatment of animals.
Art is a wonderful way to enhance the beauty of our campus. We also know that beauty often lies in the eye of the beholder. However, we are confident that this statue has not and will not be viewed in a positive light nor will it enhance our campus community.
The Public Relations Student Society of America
Steward Harrel Chapter at the University of Oklahoma
Lindsey + Asp Agency
National Association of Black Journalists, OU Chapter
National Association of Hispanic Journalists, OU Chapter
Society of Professional Journalists, OU Chapter