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Planting Roots: RSU Alumni Association Attends County Farmers Market




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 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.

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




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




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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Campus Life

Students Respond to RSU President’s “Moving Forward Together” Statement

Victoria Middleton



RSU President Larry Rice attends a pardoning ceremony in Claremore, OK, on November 7, 2019. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.

RSU President Larry Rice released a statement on June 4, 2020 addressing the current social climate in the United States and calling for inclusivity. The statement came in an email to all RSU students.

The statement was issued 10 days after the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd. Floyd died after being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department on suspicion of forgery.

In his statement, Rice called on the RSU community to recognize the rights of others and “to do our part to finish what was started so many years ago and for which many of our friends, alumni, and family members fought and died,” referencing RSU’s past as Oklahoma Military Academy.

Rice referred to “this time of discontent” and stated “we at Rogers State University are committed to ensuring equality for all by fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for every community member…”

“Respect and tolerance can only be achieved through a free and open exchange of ideas. Only in this way, speaking and listening to each other, can we achieve a culture of caring, understanding, and complete the American masterpiece.”

Within a day, students began responding to the statement on social media.

Student Paxton McKeever took to Instagram to voice their response. “I found it extremely disappointing in how noncommittal it was in regard to disavowing white supremacy,” wrote McKeever on the post shared on Thursday.

View this post on Instagram direct link in bio

A post shared by 🤖👽🌈 (@paxtonfx) on

McKeever has since began a campaign calling on RSU students and alumni to voice their concerns about the “Moving Forward Together” statement. “The only other thing I’ve found interesting is how RSU’s statement compared to other local university’s statements- specific OU, TU, and UCO, all who specifically acknowledged the issues going on in their statements,” said McKeever.

McKeever has publicly shared an email template for students to use.

RSU SGA Director of Diversity and Inclusion Yleana Esparza shared a similar statement. “Many students have reached out asking for my comments in regard to President Rice’s letter,” said Esparza.

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I won’t stay silent, will you? #blm

A post shared by Yleana Esparza (@sga_yleana_esparza) on

“Although I am appreciative that Rogers State University released a statement, ultimately, I was gravely disappointed. President Rice sets the frame work for RSU and the values we hold. Our educational leaders need to be held accountable to ensure the Black Lives Matter Movement is supported on all three of our campuses. ”

Esparza continues with a call to action, reminding students that they have the “right and responsibility… to demand respect.” She encourages RSU students to continue the discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement and our campus’s responsibilities.

The discussion on race and college campuses has continued with former RSU students.

“I think it [the statement] was definitely not enough. Without even realizing it, my first thought after reading it was ‘Wait? Was this in response to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement?” said alumna Taylor Sanderson. The “Moving Forward Together” statement has also been shared through RSU social media accounts.

“You can definitely tell that they were definitely trying not to step on any toes. I was disappointed when I realized that there was no mention of any sort of support of any kind. RSU is in support of diversity, but to what extent? There needs to be action,” said Sanderson.

The Hill News has reached out to the RSU Office of Public Relations for an interview with Rice. At 4:58 PM on Friday, the Hill News’ request for an interview was responded to.

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

Editor’s note: this article was updated at 11:33 AM on June 6, 2020, to more accurately reflect the distribution time of the “Moving Forward Together” statement.

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