Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Larry Roper Oral History Interview on the SOL Support Network, February 13, 2019

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Please tell us a little about yourself and your connection to SOL.

Segment Synopsis: Larry is currently a professor of Language, Culture, and Society at Oregon State University but his previous position from 1995-2014 was as the Vice Provost of Student Affairs. In the Vice Provost position, he was able to distribute the initial funding for SOL before it became a student fee funded program.

00:01:25 - Social Justice Work

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Partial Transcript: How did you get involved with social justice work What made you want to get involved with activism/QTIPOC support system of SOL?

Segment Synopsis: Larry states that social justice work is the primary component of working in student affairs since it's main goal is to create campus environments that respond to the needs and life situations of students who come to this campus. He has worked with students to create a campus climate that supports their dignity and humanity. Social justice work is the foundation of the professional ethics that he has been called to do.

00:07:10 - Funding SOL

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Partial Transcript: What was the process of funding SOL?

Segment Synopsis: Larry states that at the time SOL began there was no process aside from granting funding to Derron Coles when he came to Larry with the idea of creating this on campus group.

00:07:51 - Motivation

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Partial Transcript: What motivated you to grant Derron Coles permission to start SOL?

Segment Synopsis: Larry believes that it was his responsibility as a leader to create space for students to create the spaces that wanted to live in on campus and support them. This group created visibility for students of color in the LGBTQ+ community.

00:13:26 - SOL development

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Partial Transcript: What activities was SOL developing when you were a part of it?

Segment Synopsis: Larry states that he was able to see SOL develop from the ground up. Derron created the entire program and OSU was able to pay him for the work that he put into it.

00:14:30 - Accomplishments

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Partial Transcript: What were the biggest accomplishments and what were you most proud of when starting SOL?

Segment Synopsis: Larry states that he was proud of Derron for thinking of creating this group and putting the energy into making it a reality. Larry was also proud to see SOL progress to becoming a student fee funded group because that meant that this club got recognition as valuable and important.

00:16:43 - Engage white LGBTQ+ folks

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Partial Transcript: How do you believe we can better engage white LGBTQ+ folks in a dialogue of creating a more inclusive space for QTIPOC folks?

Segment Synopsis: Larry states that it is beneficial for people to think about all the ways that we are trying to influence the culture for people to recognize power, privilege, access, and relationships. Sometimes people gravitate towards hierarchies or subtle types of classism which we need to disintegrate from in order to make spaces inclusive.

00:18:38 - Advice and closing thoughts

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Partial Transcript: What advice would you give to all QTIPOC students here at OSU?

Segment Synopsis: Larry discusses how he has witnessed students taking on leadership roles to make change but some of them paid a price by taking on so much that they either didn't survive the institution or they transferred out because of the weight of it all. It's easy for students to complain about what is not going on but there might have been people before that tried to make change but were met with many obstacles.