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Editorial: Ohio State community deserves answers from editorial board interview with President Michael Drake

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Editorial:

The Ohio State president won’t be coming in for an editorial board meeting with The Lantern this semester, for the first time in at least six years.

Because of scheduling troubles and President Michael Drake’s transition, we were unable to set a date with OSU that suited both parties for the semesterly interview. OSU offered a half-hour slot from 3-3:30 p.m. on Dec. 9, but The Lantern has historically had an hour with presidents in the past and doesn’t have a print issue after the one that’s on stands Tuesday until Jan. 12. 

We asked on Nov. 12 for another date. When following up last week, The Lantern was told the initally offered date and time on Dec. 9 — Tuesday — had already been taken.

On Nov. 25, The Lantern received a copy of Drake’s calendar from Sept. 29 through Jan. 4 in response to a records request. That calendar showed Drake is set to be at a calendar review from 2-3 p.m. Monday and in a private appointment from 4:30-5:30 p.m., with a holiday reception to follow.

We had been working on setting up a time for an editorial board meeting since Sept. 8. We accepted a meet-and-greet meeting with Drake and three representatives from The Lantern Media Group on Oct. 27, which was initially offered in addition to and in advance of an editorial board interview later in the semester.

OSU and The Lantern are working on scheduling an interview with Drake for sometime in December with the typical editorial board interview taking place sometime in January.

It’s understandable that OSU’s administration is busy — since former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters was dismissed July 24, less than a month after Drake started, there’s been a flurry of media attention about a variety of topics, including Waters’ decision to sue OSU. The new Wexner Medical Center James Cancer Hospital opens this month, and a new CEO was named Monday to lead the Medical Center. On a more serious note, a missing OSU student and walk-on football player was found dead last week. And this past weekend, OSU’s football team won the Big Ten Championship Game and earned a berth in the first-ever College Football Playoffs.

We at The Lantern aren’t trying to distract Drake or any other administrators from these topics. We know these issues bring up a lot of questions about how to move forward and what can be done better in the future. 

But we want to ask those questions. We’re trying to talk to these people who lead OSU, and Drake specifically, about the issues at hand because we know our readers care. We want to our readers to know what’s going on behind the scenes. What is OSU’s president focusing on? And what’s next on his agenda?

The thing is, we can’t ask those questions we have, those questions that the OSU community deserves answers to, without an editorial board interview. 

42 comments

  1. “We want to our readers to know what’s going on behind the scenes. What is OSU’s president focusing on? And what’s next on his agenda?” You seriously think you’re going to get that in just 30 extra minutes with the President? The “behind the scenes” look? Perhaps the (disproportionate) upset over OTP’s failure to provide an interview reflects insecurity on behalf of The Lantern. This insecurity wouldn’t be entirely unjustified, with the recent downgrade in quality of publication and a desperate fear to preserve perception of quality. Maybe Drake’s inability to meet with the Editorial staff feels like another nail in the coffin. Don’t worry about Drake, worry about publishing quality work that stirs intellectual curiosity in students and the University community. The rest will fall into place with time. But in the meantime, the Lantern can’t demand respect when it doesn’t deserve it. Time to prove that you deserve that meeting with Drake. Take a cue from Ivy League publications and make us think for once.

  2. Good luck on getting the educational leader and face of my alma mater to seriously discuss campus issues.He appears to be timid,insecure and very calculated in his role as president of Ohio State.He is a simply a facilitator for the wishes of Wadsworth and Steinmetz.He isn’t open or transparent in his ” leadership” style.He is ill-suited to lead a great mid- western university.Pawns don’t make good CEO’s.Ohio State is one of the finest schools in this country.It isn’t elitist Stanford or Ivy League.Having Michael Drake on board has damaged our reputation and image from segments of the student body to the alumni.The Lantern is correct in trying to interview him.

  3. Drake is not accessible to anyone-he’s scared of the questions people seeking the truth are asking. Ohio State has pretty much swept under the rug the death of an OSU football player. He has never been to a skull session or been introduced at a football game as typically done in the past- why? because he knows he is not welcome.

  4. Huh, which University department do you work for? Based on your defense of the administration and attacking a student organization such as the lantern, I suspect you are employed in Ohio states PR department. We have seen this is how they operate. Otherwise why the tone of your comments? Why would it be unreasonable for a large student paper to want to interview the new school president? And why is it defensible that they have been trying unsuccessfully to get on his schedule since September?

  5. The man is inarticulate and dishonest when reading from a statement; it should come as no surprise that this interview won’t take place. In his radio interview with Ann Fisher he was lobbed softball questions and still managed to blame others for his shortcomings (he wishes his colleagues would have dealt with a hard situation before his arrival and subsequent mismanagement) and demand respect that he hasn’t earned (he claims he was celebrated at UCI and seems genuinely surprised that the same isn’t true at Ohio State, where he treats students with contempt).

    I’m sure that, in lieu of an interview, The Lantern can do some interesting investigative work on Michael Drake.

  6. Steve Tuhela-Reuning

    The Lantern should be applauded for their work to expose the truth, including the difficulties encountered in that pursuit. The president of a State University in our democracy should be readily accessible to the student newspaper of his/her own institution.

  7. The President of THE university can’t make time to speak with the student newspaper?? Isn’t that a violation of his job description? As an educator myself, I know that the students come FIRST. Unless, of course, the President of the university does not view the students as his most important priority. This man is turning out to be a major mistake.

  8. Well, Huh is right about one thing: An extra half hour wouldn’t help at all. I’m sure you could talk to this guy for ten hours and he’d spend the whole time giving you the run-around.

  9. In response to Huh. Huh???

    Throwing barbs at the Lantern in an effort to defend Drake is awfully petty to me.

    I’ll take the good ole days at OSU when the president had the b-lls as well as the interest in speaking in earnest to the student newspaper.

    #smh

  10. I am not surprised that Drake is too “booked” to be interviewed. He is afraid of the questions that could be asked. If he had nothing to hide; if he had a clear conscience,he would perhaps, be more accessible. The administration of OSU has done wrong. Only lies to cover their backsides can be offered to “explain”. The truth can only be told with accuracy. Lies – just always come out wrong. And WRONG, is what Drake and his band of “men” have done – wrong. Please, Lantern, dig for the truth.

  11. Huh defines the arrogance and smugness of the administration he is a shill for here. In recent months, far from displaying the “insecurity” Huh refers to, the Lantern has shown The Dispatch and other OSU mouthpieces the meaning of finvestigative journalism, with its dogged persistence in rooting out the lies and deceit behind the University’s trashing of its crown jewel Band, and the firing of Jon Waters. So rather than parrot the Davey line and tactic I’ve Huh does, let’s applaud the Lantern for representing the interests of the students, and refusing to give the administration a free pass on this disgraceful episode.

  12. Anyone who is on #YikYakOSU knows this is no surprise to students. The man is NEVER around and he clearly doesn’t care about the students.

    One Yak said, “Impeach President Drake!”
    Reply: “We’d have to find him first.”

  13. This has the appearance of cowardice on Dr. Drake’s part. In its own way, it is a tribute to the Lantern, which has become the most important newspaper on matters involving OSU.

  14. I did hear most of interview he had on WOSU All Sides this fall. Except
    for issues still in dispute (court, lawyers, etc.) he was forthright.
    It is too bad — I am guessing here — he didn’t have a chance to talk
    to Gee who I suspect would have encouraged him to meet Lantern staff.
    In the abscence of Gee, you can only imagine the advice he is getting.
    I would him a chance. Perhaps your reasonable article will encourage
    him as might the critical comments that only suspect the worst. If they
    are wrong, only Drake can dispel them.

  15. What has happened to my University? These are sad days. I think it’s time for OSU President number 16.

  16. I actually agree with “Hum.” Why do you want to meet with Drake? Do get information? If the Lantern is so skilled with investigative reporting, they should know that there are easier ways to identify “priorities.” I suspect that they want to meet with him, like “Huh” suggested, to feel special and respected. Undeniably, students don’t regard the Lantern with the admiration desired. Quit publishing articles about booty and you’ll gain some respect immediately.

  17. Sam, you question why the student newspaper would want to interview the school president? Here’s a better question- why wouldn’t they and why shouldn’t they?

  18. Its not that they shouldn’t– I wish they were honest about motives. It’s not to get information they can’t get anywhere else. It’s to appear legitimate. Which is fine, just be up front about it, don’t pretend you’re being blocked from access to top secret info. The Lantern staff is upset bc Drake (inadvertently or otherwise) made them look unprofessional, not because he kept information from them.

  19. Sam, The Lantern should properly concern itself with students’ interests, and in recent months it has been the ONLY Columbus news outlet, apart from NBC-4, to have kept digging at the OSUMB scandal. It has uncovered a slew of deceptions and improprieties by the administration, and so is rightly keen to have President Drake answer to these and other issues. The fact that he is ducking what has always been a standard practice for OSU Presidents tells us a lot about how the University acted, and continues to act, in the OSUMB/Waters fiasco. Keeping after the truth like this is what a paper should do, not roll over to OSU like The Dispatch does, and The Lantern staff are rightly “upset” that the administration is being so blatantly evasive.

  20. Here’s the thing… the Lantern regularly fails to accurately quote those they interview, they misrepresent people, they manipulate stories to create drama, leave out critical pieces of information, behave unprofessionally, and totally abuse trust.
    I speak from experience.

    So, why don’t you explain to me what you have to offer Dr. Drake?
    He already has quality students meeting with him regularly and asking the tough questions.
    He doesn’t need The Lantern.

  21. Or Maybe…: “He already has quality students meeting with him regularly and asking the tough questions.” Really? Can you please point the rest of us to these tough questions and Drake’s answers?

  22. Or Maybe – well, how about letting the (tuition-paying) student body at large in on the answers to these “tough questions”? This is an entirely appropriate function for The Lantern to undertake. Or are you of the opinion that the rest of the campus are not “quality students”, and so not worthy of access to these exclusive conversations?

  23. Student government exists for a reason.
    Representatives are elected by the students, and report to the students.
    Any student can attend meetings, or contact their rep if they want more info.
    Dr. Drake has a responsibility to respond to student government, not The (privately owned) Lantern.

    Welcome to campus.

  24. How about this too?

    Dr. Drake doesn’t really even have to respond to student government either so get over yourself.

  25. When the president of the university can’t be bothered to make time for a student organization (publication) it gives the impression that he doesn’t really care about the students. It also makes it seem that he is hiding something or afraid of what they might ask him. This is just one more reason I have absolutely no respect for him and will be happy when OSU realizes it is time for a new (and better) president.

  26. So, Danielle Seamon puts out an opinion article trashing OSU vs Michigan academics, ironically without doing the proper research into the reasons why Michigan has a much larger endowment and functions less like a land grant institution than OSU… then, when criticized, shuts down the comment section at 121 and instead publishes this bit of public temper tantrum behind an anonymous staff authorship.

    Seriously, you all have to be the worst University paper in the country.
    The total lack of self awareness and entitlement is frightening.

  27. Perhaps The Lantern should be more concerned with publsihing meaningful news that is well written, edited and not filled with slang. Once that happens, people, including the president, will take the paper seriously.

  28. Why so much hate for the paper?

    Karl

  29. Just too much hate overall.

    Karl

  30. It’s understandable to want an interview with the President, especially if it is a tradition with The Lantern. But you stated yourself the responsibilities he has right now in addition to the loss of a football player, dealing with the lawsuit from the ex band director, etc. I think we should all acknowledge that this man is human. As President of the university, there is no way he can just dodge an interview forever. So I doubt he’s purposely trying to not talk with the students. That’s a key aspect of his job. How about we be patient and when the interview does happen be more understanding of what his job encompasses instead of bashing him for fulfilling a multitude of his responsibilities.

  31. Those are good points Janaya. When do you think President Drake could or should make himself available for a Lantern interview? Maybe within the first few weeks of next semester?

    Thanks,

    Karl

  32. I guess I could ask again, but I doubt anyone will see this.

    Karl

  33. Comment.

    Karl

  34. Keep trying Karl… maybe someone will care that the Lantern is having a hissy fit over no longer being relevant.

    Can’t wait to read the article after we win the national Championship telling us that we’re really losers.

  35. He would probably put you to sleep anyway. He seems like a really dull, boring guy.

  36. Who’s boring? Me?

    I could be more boring!

    Karl

  37. There’s a lot of pining for Gee, who never turned down a photo-op but did everything he could to lay off staff and replace them with $8/hour temporary labor. He liked to say bold things that he couldn’t substantiate, but if you asked him a tough question he’d just weasel out. Folks loved him for dropping in here and there, having pillow fights in a dorm (no joke), being “that guy you could have a beer with,” who Drake obviously isn’t. Look at the Lantern interview from a few years ago, though — photos of Gee grimacing on the cover, clearly irritated and indignant about some straightforward questions. That year the Lantern had some editorial turnover, didn’t it?

  38. Buckeye in the West

    No surprise here. Since the Jon Waters incident, Mr. Drake is hiding in his ivory tower protected by a sued provost and Board of trustees.

  39. Drake failed to disclose his financial holdings to the Ohio Ethics Commission. Instead, he gave his broker’s name, which happens to be a CA bank where he is a director. This is an illegal non disclosure. He’s hiding something that he knows will get him and his cronies fired, IMHO.

    Ask Drake for his required full financial disclosure. It’s his statutory duty.

  40. Brutus in Wonderland

    Who picked THIS guy Dr. Drake?

    First, STanford curiculum and life is so easy at STanford, and you’re lucky to have upper middle class parents and affirmative action working in your favor. Plus a lot of seedy contacts.

    Did they find the guy most likely to install an overpriced outdated cancer research building on campus whose cost went magincally up from $750mil to $1.2 billion?

    I’m sure Bank of the West and Commonwealth Fund sold some nice derivatives and interest rate swaps on that to make sure the “rich” college student’s parents cough up the pennies.

    Seriously, if I were in control of that thing- I would’ve pawned it off to the Trumps, the Hiltons the the owners of the new Chinese owners of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai. The US is currently in a recession, the students can’t afford this? The doctors, not the building cures diseases.

    And it’s 2015 already- had big pharma and the US “health care system” not violated the HIppocratic Oath and AMA Code of Ethics regaring patients’ welfare and the conflict of interest from big pharma and the like- cancer probably wouldn’t even exist. I strongly believe the only reason why type 2 diabetes exists is because Bristol Myers Squibb’s metformin shilling for profits meets double taxed dividends to some shareholders somewhere. Chucking away $1.2 BILLION for a building doesn’t cure cancer?

    He’s new and he already fired the head for a nationally KNOWN, high quality top notch famous marching band leader who got the country exposed to this band? Which is long past due- considering how much work and prep goes into those performances.

    I’m surprised that he hasn’t resigned yet. Maybe he’s lurking in the darkness with Mark Mays or something.

    Ohio State, despite it’s bureaucracy- has one of the largest student population and alumni in the world. The president in light of globalization needs to be selling bonds to Asia in order to expand the school. Not to exploit it for some gimmicky corrupt banker’s exploitation of cancer?

  41. Brutus in Wonderland

    Please excuse all of my typos. I’m dealing with a fussy internet connection in “challenging” weather conditions.

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