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Letter to the editor: Taking issue off of the ballot was undemocratic, unfair

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Letter to the editor:

As a member of the Ohio University Student Government, it was disappointing to read in The Lantern that the OSU Undergraduate Student Government Judicial Panel denied the rights of thousands of students to vote on whether to take a position on the “boycott, divest and sanction” ballot initiative during the spring election.

From my reading of the events in The Lantern, student government itself approved the petition that OSU Divest circulated. The Judicial Panel’s biased ruling calls into question the legitimacy and fairness of the body’s procedures. What makes this ruling particularly egregious is what appears to be the open collusion between the Judicial Panel and the Clerk of the Judicial Panel, which brought the complaint. No democratic institution enables a governmental body to be the judge, jury and executioner.

This ruling appears to target and deny minority and international students the same level of fairness and respect that USG provides to other OSU students. It is OSU students’ right to free speech and fairness that’s under attack. The Judicial Panel’s actions set a dangerous precedent where other future ballot initiatives could be thrown off the ballot if the student government doesn’t like challenging questions being put before the student voters.

I have no idea if the divest resolution would be passed by the student body or not, however, that’s not up to the student government to decide for the rest of the campus. This ruling is undemocratic, unfair and damages the notion that The Ohio State University is a community of learning where difficult ideas can be discussed and voted on as a community.

I urge the student government to reverse its unfair ruling and to provide OSU students an opportunity to decide for themselves.

Will Klatt

Vice commissioner for governmental affairs

Ohio University Student Government

wk938905@ohio.edu

4 comments

  1. He doesn’t even go here.

    Not only that, but this guy is paid to help radical groups try to infiltrate student government. Let students decide for themselves.

  2. People actually pay attention to anything USG does? We certainly did not back in my day. Why should students who are only at the University for a short time have ANY say in how the University invests for the long term?

  3. It’s incredible to me how many people are trying to justify their racist stance against divestment by saying that students shouldn’t have any say in OSU’s investment choices, or that divesting from these companies would harm the university. Not to mention the comment by “2012 OSU” trying to de-legitimize this letter to the editor.

    These are the same arguments that people used to argue against divestment from companies that supported apartheid in South Africa used. With Desmond Tutu saying that the situation in Israel and Palestine is equivalent to apartheid in South Africa, and the UN Rights Council calls Israel’s actions a “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms,” it’s pretty clear that those who are arguing against divestment at OSU have absolutely NO regard for the lives and rights of Palestinians.

    One has to wonder why these people place more importance over money than what most would consider human beings. Is it because they are Arab, and opponents of divestment are anti-Arab? Is it because of their brown skin? Those were certainly the reasons to continue supporting apartheid in South Africa when students on campuses were calling for divestment back then.

  4. As much as I hate to say it, I think 2012OSU is right. I’m a senior at OU, and Klatt had supposedly graduated before my freshman year. He just never seems to go away.

    My question is whether divesting would have any serious effect or if it would be merely a symbolic move and a way to pat ourselves on the back. And if it came to a vote, would enough students actually vote that it could be even remotely called representative of the university’s views?

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