A conversation with Native American students about their views of UO

October 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I hope your fall term is going smoothly and that you are engaging with your students, your research, or other scholarly activities despite the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, I appreciate the diligence, the effort, and the overall commitment that our faculty put into making sure all of our students feel connected.

Given the pandemic, the number of messages you’ve been receiving as of late has been unusually high. But this particular note isn’t about the wrangling of starting a term or asking you to take on something on short notice.

Rather, it’s about the people we serve – our students. The events over the last few months – the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd by police; Portland being at the epicenter of civil unrest and protests; the horror of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shooting a black man in the back seven times; and, of course, the political split in this country – make it obvious to me that I need to dedicate more time to hearing from people in our UO community who don’t always have a seat at the table.

Recently, I held a Zoom meeting with three University of Oregon students who are Native American, and we talked at length about their perspectives of being a part of this institution. The conversation was both frank and enlightening.

Like a previous conversation that I had with students of color in June, I wanted to share this one with you to make sure their voices are amplified. The students are:

  • Temerity Bauer, a third-year student, is one of the co-directors of the Native American Student Union and hails from Henderson, Nevada. She is a Stamps Scholar, attends the Clark Honors College, and also recently received a Udall Fellowship. She is a biology student and a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes.
  • Ryan Reed, a third-year student, is also a co-director of the Native American Student Union. An environmental studies major, he is involved in the Tribal Climate Project at UO, and has been heavily involved in the discussions around renaming of Deady Hall. He is affiliated with three tribes – the KarukHupa and Yurok peoples of Northern California.
  • Angela Noah, a second-year student, is a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, with a connection to the Oklahoma Choctaw tribes. She is a Planning, Public Policy, and Management student from Arizona, and is the reigning Miss Indian at UO. She is a United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc. peer guide, and has served as an Earth Ambassador.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch this interaction. It is well worth it, and it provides me with the hope that we will all continue to have these conversations with our students from all communities — they are leading us to a brighter future.


Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President