- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - The University of Oklahoma hired a former state legislator Tuesday for a newly created vice president position to oversee diversity programs in the wake of a video that showed fraternity members engaging in a racist chant.

OU President David Boren announced the hiring of former state Sen. Jabar Shumate, a Democrat from Tulsa who resigned from the Senate in January before the start of the legislative session.

“Jabar Shumate will bring tremendous energy, ability and experience to this newly created position,” Boren said in a statement. “I have complete trust and confidence in him.”

OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop did not respond to an email seeking information about Shumate’s salary, but the university said in a news release that his salary would be commensurate with other vice presidents. Shumate will serve OU campuses in Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Because of a prohibition on former legislators taking state-funded jobs, the release said Shumate will be paid with “non-appropriated private funds.”



A former member of the House, Shumate was a student body president at OU and previously worked as Boren’s press secretary. Shumate was a member of the Legislative Black Caucus and also serves as a member of the board of trustees for the National Urban League.

Earlier this month, a video surfaced showing members of OU’s chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity engaging in a racist chant that referenced lynching and used a racial slur to say that black students would never become members.

Boren severed ties with the chapter, ordered its house shuttered and expelled two students for their role in the chant. About two dozen other students were ordered to perform community service and participate in diversity training.

Shumate’s appointment still must be approved by the OU Board of Regents.

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