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Under Cover: RSU Residents Take Shelter Under Tornado Warning

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A storm front moves across the RSU Claremore campus April 28,, 2020. Photo by Jake Brillhart, The Hillpost.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8:26 PM to provide additional information regarding campus conditions.

At 6:01 PM, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for southeast Osage County and central Tulsa County. A minute later, a second warning was issued for parts of Rogers and Mayes counties due to radar indicated rotation. This triggered a series of coordinated plans across RSU Claremore.

Earlier in the day, university faculty and staff were encouraged to leave at 3:00 PM, and RSUPD and the Office of Residential Life began preparations. At that time, only a tornado watch was issued by the weather service. The on-campus tornado shelter located in Chapman Dining Hall was unlocked, and the Office of Residential Life began the challenge of balancing social distancing with emergency management.

The Office of Residential Life began placing painter’s tape in six-foot increments in the basement of Chapman Dining in anticipation of a shelter-in-order decision. “It was ingenious these [tape markings],” said RSU student Cole Chandler. Chandler is a resident assistant in University Village C.

At 6:06 PM, the RSU Office of Public Relations sent a campus-wide text message to students.

RSU Alert: Rogers County is under a tornado warning. Take safety precautions and monitor local weather stations.

RSU OFFICE of public relations

With the text message sent, university staff began directing the approximate 100 residents still living on campus to Chapman Dining Hall. While most students ignored the social distancing recommendations, several donned masks provided by the Office of Residential Life. Students primarily gathered in circles of friends or clung to the walls of the room.

RSU President Larry Rice and First Lady Peggy Rice mingled with the students. Along with the Rice family, Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Goltra and his family were present.

Less than an hour later, the Office of Residential Life gave an all-clear notice to the assembled residents. Students were permitted to leave. “I think David, our RA’s did a great job,” said Chandler who was off duty at the time.

No exterior building damage occurred at the RSU Claremore campus. Minor roof leakage and subsequent flooding in a Chapman Dining Hall restroom was reported.

At 8:00 PM, more than a dozen counties in northeast Oklahoma remained under a tornado watch until 11:00 PM.

Jake Brillhart serves as the editor-in-chief for the Hillpost. He is a junior studying public affairs with a focus in media communications. He frequently covers stories related to state and local government and campus policy. After graduation, Brillhart plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration and begin a career in higher education.

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Campus Life

Gallery: Fairest on the Hill Draws Crowds and Dazzles

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Juniors Trent Siever and Skye Fairbanks welcomes students and community members to Fairest on the Hill. This year, the event was held on the lawn of the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Skye Fairbank welcomes everyone to Fairest on the Hill. Fairest on the Hill continued this year as a tradition of President’s Leadership Class. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Tammy Ryan of the Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni Association raises her hand. Judges, from left to right, include Katie Warnick, Tammy Ryan, and Lori O’Malley. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Atticus Wise waves to the audience during his introduction. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Caden Coleman (right) performs a dance routine during a lip-sync performance. Coleman represented the Student Ambassadors program. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Joseph “Josie” Gaither sings during his talent portion. Gaither sung a satirical song on his experiences in the Honors Program. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Fairest on the Hill organizers look onward, as RSU student Joseph “Josie” Gaither sings. Fairest on the Hill is organized, annually, by the RSU President’s Leadership Class. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
A group of RSU students cheers during Joseph “Josie” Gaither’s performance. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Brandon Xiong strums a guitar while singing a song. Xiong was assisted by fellow contestant Duy Pham. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
A crowd of student athletes clap after Brandon Xiong’s performance. Over 50 students and community members attended this year’s Fairest on the Hill. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU Student Duy Pham sang during his talent portion. Pham represented the Association of International Students. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Three students rock their phones while Duy Pham sings You Raise Me Up. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Katrina Christian signs during performance. Christian is a redshirt junior playing women’s basketball at RSU. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Katrina Christian points outward to the audience while RSU student Lily Garner dances in the background. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Charity “Paige” Adams plays a singing bowl. Adams represented Alpha Sigma Tau. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU students Molly Rhames and Taryn Thompson sit on lawn in front of the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center. This year, attendees were required to wear masks. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.


RSU student Carleigh Stallcup sings Se Tu M’ami. Stallcup represented Alpha Sigma Alpha. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Gabe Seiler waves his “wand” during his talent performance. Seiler performed a magic trick for his skill. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student James VanOrsdol walks off stage after assisting Gabe Seiler. Seiler represented the Campus Activities Team. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Scooba performs an unreleased single Through the Night. Through the Night released on Spotify and Apple Music on Friday night, October 2, 2020. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU alumna Ashli Davis dances during her performance. Davis performed a series a synchronized hula hoop tricks as a part of her talent portion. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
RSU student Luke Huen sings Sixteen Tons. Huen represented the Student Threatre Organization. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Trent Siever announces a door prize drawing during Fairest on the Hill. This year, multiple door prizes were given to attendees ranging from a QuikTrip gas card to a gift card to 918 Nutrition. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
Scooba thanks everyone for coming and supporting his career after winning first place. During his acceptance, Scooba recognized his faith and partner Vuye. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
The winners of Fairest on the Hill stand on stage. (From left to right) Scooba took first place, Caden Coleman took second place, and Joseph Gaither took third place. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.

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Campus Life

Student Government Holds First Meeting: Recognizes Black Student Association

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In their first meeting of the academic year, 36 students attended the Student Government Association Congress meeting. “We’re excited to have you hear, especially in person,” said student government vice president Darci Johnson.

Beginning at 1:21 p.m., the SGA called the meeting to order. All officers of the student government gave reports on their offices. SGA Public Relations Director Caden Coleman announced a freshman council and shared his social media account as a source of information. SGA President Madison McLaughlin and SGA Director of Diversity and Inclusion Yleana Esparza also shared their social media accounts.

Currently, the SGA Congress has not approved appropriations or formally established a freshman student government council. New business included recognizing two student organizations at RSU.

“We hope we get this student organization back on track,” said RSU student Giovanni Wahome. He represented the International Student Association and spoke about the perspective of international students at RSU. The International Student Association has previously been recognized as a registered student organization at RSU but fell into bad-standing with the SGA.

Wahome described disparities in international student services offered at RSU compared to other institutions under the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. Vice President Johnson objected to further questions by the Hill News regarding the association’s experience attempting to be recognized as a registered student organization again.

The International Student Association was officially recognized by the SGA Congress and passed unanimously. RSU student Kira Carter then presented Brothers and Sisters for Excellence, a proposed black student association, to the SGA Congress.

“It’s going to allow students to make connections,” said Carter. RSU has not had a recognized black student organization since being accredited as a four year, regional university.

“We can spread diversity across campus,” explained Carter. She described that Brothers and Sisters for Excellence as an inclusive student organization for RSU students. The proposed student organization was recognized and passed unanimously.

SGA President McLaughlin recognized incoming RSU Student Activities Coordinator Katie Warnick to share announcements. Warnick began working on August 25, 2020, and oversees campus events, student organization support services, and other university recreational activities.

Warnick announced that student organizations at RSU will be expected to adhere to COVID-19 activity guidelines. Warnick also announced that the SGA will be hosting the Student Organization Leadership Retreat on September 11, 2020. This annual event is traditionally required for student organizations in the spring semester but was not held to COVID-19.

RSU Libraries shared information about upcoming campus events, and President McLaughlin adjourned the meeting at 2:02 p.m.

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Academics

Gallery: Students Return To Campus for First Day

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An RSU freshman flashes a peace sign while walking from the Health Sciences Building. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
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Two RSU students walk from Loshbaugh Hall to the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center after class. Students returned to class today for the fall semester. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.
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