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Claremore Citizens Peacefully Gather for Rallies Across the City

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A protester stretches his hand out to another attendee after addressing the crowd. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hillpost.

Joining communities across the nation, hundreds of Claremore citizens participated in rallies across the city tonight. Organized by two groups, both rallies gathered to raise attention to the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd. Both rallies ended without incident.

The Racial Reconciliation Rally, according to a Facebook event, was organized by two pastors in Claremore. The event began at 7 PM, and less than a hundred people, mainly adults, attended. The organizers and attendees gathered in the NeMar Shopping Center. Opening their rally, the organizers thanked everyone for coming together and choosing unity amidst nationwide protests.

Within 15 minutes, another rally, led by 14-year old Kai Cook, marched towards the Racial Reconciliation Rally. Chanting “hands up, don’t shoot,” the group marched through the NeMar Shopping Center toward the Rogers County Courthouse. For almost one hour, Cook and other protesters spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This is changing the town, and I’m not afraid about that,” shouted Cook at one point. “We need to get in state and local government, and vote,” called another protester from the crowd.

Rogers County Sheriff deputies were on-site during the rally. Approximately 20 minutes after arriving at the courthouse, law enforcement officers were observed moving traffic barriers to parking lot entrances. Throughout the protest, deputies were observed watching the crowd from the courthouse.

After leaving the Rogers Count Courthouse, the crowd marched past the Amos G. Ward Detention Center and Claremore city offices. Officers with the Claremore Police Department and the Grand River Dam Authority were observed watching the protesters from the City of Claremore offices.

Cook led the crowd to Lynn Rigg Park where refreshments were offered to protesters. From there, the protesters dissipated into two groups. One group remained at the park while another continued down Will Rogers Boulevard.

Many Claremore residents and visitors watched the group move back towards the NeMar Center. While several individuals openly-carrying firearms along the storefronts were observed, there were no reports of violence.

The rallies were attended by multiple students and university employees from RSU.

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

RSU Student Reportedly Tests Positive for COVID-19

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A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Photo courtesy of the Centers of Disease Control.

Two RSU students have undergone testing for COVID-19. According to a social media post made on Friday, an RSU student claims to have had a positive test result. The student told the Hill News they have both been self-isolating since a COVID-19 test last week.

RSU began its response to the coronavirus earlier this year in March. This included a transition to remote instruction for the latter half of the spring semester. Beginning on May 29, 2002, RSU started to ease pandemic-related campus restrictions.

For the summer semester, RSU continued with remote instruction and has limited campus events.

In a statement, RSU Director of Communications and Marketing Brandon Irby stated: “Rogers State University follows the guidance of national and local health officials in response to a positive diagnosis on campus. When an RSU employee or student self-reports they are symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, there are important measures that will be promptly taken including quarantine or isolation, contact tracing and facility disinfection.

To date, RSU has not announced any positive COVID-19 tests on its campuses in Bartlesville, Claremore, or Pryor, OK.

RSU students, faculty, and staff with symptoms or suspected contact can receive a COVID-19 test by appointment at the Rogers County, Mayes County, or Washington County Health Departments.

Editor’s note: this story was update at 8:30 PM to correct a typo.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Campus Life

RSU College Republicans Attend “Keep America Great” Rally in Tulsa

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The BOK Center hosted the 6,000 person rally sponsored by President Donald Trump's reelection campaign. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.

Several members of RSU’s College Republicans and their families attended Saturday’s campaign rally for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. The event marks the beginning of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign visits. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt attributed the selection of Oklahoma as the site for the first rally due to the state’s early reopening plans.

“With a little bit more action taking place closer to Trump’s appearance, things are starting to get pretty amped up,” said Braiden Lanser, an RSU student. Lanser attended the rally with his brother and father.

“We’re super excited! It’s a new experience for all of us so we don’t really know what to expect, but haven’t been disappointed yet,” said Lanser.

The “Keep America Great” rally was hosted the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK. Third street in downtown Tulsa remained largely blocked off for the event. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.

Hana Yu, an RSU student, volunteered at the rally. “I wanted to show support to a president that is working to bring back the country that I became a citizen in,” said Yu. “It was also a honor to be able to be in the same room as the president and vice president.”

In a statement, the Oklahoma Federation of College Republicans commented on the participation of their local chapters. “We are honored to have had the president kick off his campaign in Oklahoma. Oklahoma was the right choice as we have been successfully open for over 50 days. Our College Republicans are mobilized to take back our 5th district and bring a Trump landslide in the state,” said OKFCR Chairman Mack Savala.

The RSU chapter of College Republicans is a member of the Oklahoma Federation of College Republicans which is affiliated with the National College Republicans Committee. The national College Republicans movement supports the Republican Party, its candidates, and hosts activities for its members on college campuses. According to the National College Republicans Committee’s website, there are over 1,800 active chapters on college campuses with over 250,000 members nationwide.

Students interested in joining RSU College Republicans can visit their Facebook page or Instagram profile for more information.

Editor’s note: this article was updated at 5:03 PM to correct an inaccurate date in the first paragraph.

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Planting Roots: RSU Alumni Association Attends County Farmers Market

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Hunter the Hillcat poses with Rogers County Farmers Market customers. Photo courtesy of Travis Peck, RSU.

Earlier today, the RSU Alumni Association attended the Rogers County Farmers Market. Along with Hunter the Hillcat, the RSU Alumni Association promoted the university to the larger Green Country community.

“We have a wonderful resource right here in our own backyard and it needs to shine,” said RSU Director of Alumni Engagement Travis Peck. He outlined importance of having a university in a community and the impact it can have.

“The Rogers County Farmers Market was excited to have the RSU Alumni pop-up event at the market this week,” said Reighly Hendrix, Rogers County Farmers Market director. “We enjoyed seeing our customers wearing their RSU gear and snapped some great pictures with Hunter the Hillcat!”

Along with 23 other vendors, Peck and RSU Alumni Association President Jody Reiss represented RSU to approximately 675 customers at the farmers market today. Reiss commented on the success of the event and the alumni association’s participation. “I think it went awesome,” said Reiss, “I love seeing local community connecting with RSU!”

For Peck, the excitement was mutual. “We were excited to see so much navy and red. The more events Roger State University can be a part of in and around the city of Claremore the better,” said Peck. He commented on the success of this initial alumni pop-up event.

“We hope to participate in food truck Thursdays this season and expand our impact on the city,” explained Peck.

The RSU Alumni Association is open to all graduates of RSU, Rogers State College, and Claremore Junior College. Alumni can join the association by visiting www.rsu.edu/alumni. According to RSU’s website, the next, major alumni event is Alumni Weekend on the Hill on September 18-19, 2020.

The Rogers County Farmers Market operates every Saturday from 7-11 a.m. from May through October. It includes vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, and locally-produced apparel and gifts.

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