Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Letter to the editor: Removing divestment issue from ballot an unfair, devastating decision on USG’s part

Letter to the editor: Removing divestment issue from ballot an unfair, devastating decision on USG’s part

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Letter to the editor:

I am a third-generation Buckeye. I was raised on crisp, Midwest fall air while cheering in the best damn stadium in the land. The Ohio State University Marching Band has been my ringtone since I got my first cellphone. Until the age of 15, I refused to even step foot in “That State Up North” because of my loyalty to my home state.

Scarlet and gray run through my veins, but today is the first day of my life that I am not proud to be a Buckeye.

In a completely unfair and devastating decision, the Undergraduate Student Government Judicial Panel has removed the issue of divestment from the ballot of this general election. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of divestment, the student body should be outraged that the USG has taken it upon itself to silence the voices of the undergraduate population. The USG Judicial Panel has chosen to ignore the voices of more than 3,000 students who attached their names to petitions that brought the issue to the ballot. The Judicial Panel snubbed the democratic process that the USG has set out to follow.

Open and spirited debate only benefits the Ohio State community. The value of having a student government is that it offers a platform for students to voice their opinions and ideas that can help make this campus even better. Removing an issue that has sparked a healthy and educational debate across campus because of a technicality goes against the fundamental principles that this nation was founded upon. The actions of USG Judicial Panel remove the integrity from the voting process and instills a lack of faith in the ability to advocate meaningful change as a student.

USG’s action is extremely disappointing. Whether you support or oppose the OSU divestment movement is not the issue at hand. Removing the divestment question from the ballot is a restriction on the freedom of speech that we, not only here at Ohio State, but as a nation, hold so dear. I urge USG to review its judicial findings and allow the student body to make the determination on its own.

I was raised a Buckeye alongside my older sister, an alumna, and my younger brother, who was just recently accepted to this incredible university. I have always been the first to come and sing Ohio’s praise, but as an older brother who values student speech, I am hesitant to advise my high school brother to join the family as an official Buckeye when I have seen firsthand that his voice will not be heard.

Brooks W. Boron

Student at Moritz College of Law

boron.19@osu.edu

18 comments

  1. What is the point of having rules if they aren’t followed? It would be on the ballot if they followed all the procedures beforehand.

    If the issue is so serious, why cant they submit the documents correctly?

  2. Hard to be outraged that the issue has been removed when the group failed to follow simple procedure. If the group followed the directions, this wouldn’t be an issue. It can’t be that hard when there have been years of senate candidates, ballot issues, and presidential candidates who have followed the same or similar direction…

  3. …. Is there another argument besides “should’ve followed an irrelevant procedure, essentially a clerical error”? A well- written piece.

  4. Its not an irrelevant procedure. They got signatures by misrepresentation and lies. People signed for it thinking it was “human rights in american” and to “save puppies and children”.

  5. The issue has no place on an OSU ballot. It’s telling that much like the petition’s circulators, the writer of this letter used a ton of glittering generalities and did not describe what “divestment” is: the singling out and persecution of a civilization of people who don’t want to die and be exiled as their grandparents. Nothing else. I won’t shed any tears for people who would rather live in their “own” hell than be minority shareholders in a stupendous civilization.

  6. Wait, so now it shouldn’t be on the ballot because they used deception to get signatures? I thought it was just because of a clerical error? I see where this is going, can’t wait to see what the new reason is tomorrow…

    Btw, it would’ve been voted down anyways, but I guess that’s not enough for some cowards over in USG.

  7. Dan: The Judiciary Panel did not contest the signatures, only the pagination. The signatures are completely legitimate, and your support of muffling student voices in this context is shameful.

  8. Dionysus, whether you agree or disagree with divestment is irrelevant because the issue the writer takes great strides to explain (and does so in what I think, is a well written, “glittering” essay) is that there was no vote at all. And censoring students is not only unconstitutional, but it doesn’t allow students the opportunity to demonstrate that they are mature and responsible enough to make the best choice for OSU.

    If students felt, like you, this was wrong, they should have gotten the chance to express that with a NO vote. And if they felt it was right, unlike you, they should have gotten to express that as well.

    You say this is a stupendous civilization. I agree. And I think it’s that way because we all get an equal vote, because we fight for democracy, because we let every voice be heard, even when we don’t agree.

  9. I heard there were a ton of fake signatures.

  10. The issue was not fake signatures, misleading people into signing, or anything like that. The issue was the lack of the circulators’ names on some of the petition papers. As Divest pointed out, the usefulness of circulator names seems to mainly apply to candidates, not to ballot issues. Since there are no official opponents in a ballot issue, trying to interject a new candidate solely to weaken another candidate does not apply. The rules were unclear on whether this even applied to ballot issues, and it is not clear why they would.

    If anyone signed under false impressions or did not sign at all but was included, then that should have been challenged. It was not.

    Divest pointed out that actual candidates did not include circulator names on their papers, and yet were not challenged. It seems the Judiciary Panel was not consistently applying their rules. During the meeting, both the plaintiff and the Judiciary Panel falsely claimed all of the candidates did include the circulator names (although the plaintiff first admitted otherwise) before Divest brought a witness showing this was blatantly untrue.

    And lastly, disqualifying the issue based off this is beyond proportionate even if there was an offense. I am not aware of any past cases where such a small offense led to anything beyond a fine. Indeed, I have not heard of this particular offense ever being challenged before now, despite being frequent, and despite possibly being important in cases of candidate elections.

    Thousands of students wanted this issue to be voted on. Many who would like to have seen this did not even hear of the campaign until after the petitions were complete, including myself. Denying this based off of a (possible) minor rule offence that is not even clearly relevant for this particular issue is very disturbing.

  11. Has anyone commenting on the rules actually read them for themselves???? read Article 1 Section B, and TELL ME how they were treated unfairly when the title of the section clearly says Petitions and Nominations…

    https://usg.osu.edu/posts/documents/doc_1172015_25927593.doc

  12. Has anyone commenting on the rules actually read them for themselves???? read Article 1 Section B, and TELL ME how they were treated unfairly when the title of the section clearly says Petitions and Nominations…

  13. @do you read?

    Yes, I have read them. The are badly written. They switch between candidates and all petitions on an unclear basis. Article 1 Section B Part 2, for example (right under the relevant portion), says “A list of official candidates and candidate teams, shall be posted by the Judicial Panel on the Undergraduate Student Government website, within forty-eight (48) hours of validation of all signatures.”

    The rules are not very clear, but they probably did make a clerical error. Nobody is strongly arguing that they didn’t. What people are upset about, and the Judiciary Panel defenders refuse to address, is the unfair hearing, the lack of consistency, and most importantly the shockingly beyond proportionate punishment. The Judiciary Panel gave no historical basis for this punishment, because none exists. They classified a clerical error as either a Type IV or Type V bylaw offense. This would put it at least at the same level as falsifying information to the Judiciary Panel, and above slander – the maximum penalty for slander is a fine and the maximum penalty for falsifying information to the Judiciary Panel is disqualification. This means they either classified this as the highest offense possible or classified it on the same level as falsifying information to the Judiciary Panel and gave the maximum punishment available. For a clerical error.

  14. You got to love seeing the whole USG judicial panel coming out and commenting on this article since their bias views against the Palestinians students are gaining light and they are finally getting called out by everyone.

  15. Isn’t that just the way of the world today? Get a little authority and do anything you darn well please and screw thinking about the big picture or using any common sense. But then, most of our society has been raised on video games, which offer no grace, and so is quickly losing any concept of any sense of fair play. We’re becoming more and more monarchial by the minute.

  16. Seems like the main issue is that the committee sat on their concerns until it was too late for the OSUDivest to do anything about them.

    Through their (intentional or accidental) ineptitude the Judiciary Committee is actually derailing the democratic process they are expected to uphold.

    Meanwhile many of you are swallowing their argument that ‘OSUDivest should have followed procedures’ without a second of critical thought.

    Is that cause thinking hurts?

  17. 1.I find it hard to believe “today is the first day of [your] life that [you are] not proud to be a Buckeye.”

    Sounds emotionally charged to me. Sounds illogical

    2. If you followed the rules, this would not have happened. Rules are logical.

  18. Video games? Really? What in tarnation do video games have to do with anything?

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