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.
Vice commissioner for governmental affairs
Ohio University Student Government