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Letter to the Editor: Alumni stand in support with #ReclaimOSU

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Credit: Mitch Hooper| Lantern reporter

Credit: Mitch Hooper| Lantern reporter

As alumni of the Ohio State University, we express our solidarity with the dozens of OSU students who occupied Bricker Hall on April 6 under the banner of #ReclaimOSU. Representing numerous organizations, students and community allies courageously called for transparent and democratic use of university funds, an end to the privatization of university assets, divestment from human rights abuses in Palestine and the adoption of sustainable and ethical food standards.

The occupation of Bricker Hall is the latest stage in a long history of progressive student activism at OSU — from demonstrations against the Vietnam War and for the creation of Black Studies and Women’s Studies departments in the 1970s to Occupy and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement today. By challenging oppression and exploitation on campus, while bringing attention to the intersection of struggles at this university with those of people elsewhere, student activism has always been an important and necessary force in making OSU more democratic, just and inclusive.

The students of #ReclaimOSU, as with each generation of student activists before them, embody the values of civic engagement that our university emphasized during our time as students, expressed in the OSU motto: Disciplina in civitatem, Education for citizenship.

However, the response of university administrators to this peaceful protest has demonstrated that their commitment to engaged citizenship is merely rhetorical. Instead of addressing the entirely reasonable demands of students, university administration threatened to arrest and expel all students present in Bricker Hall. Notably, administration reported that University President Michael Drake said that he “will never receive demands” and will not negotiate with the students occupying Bricker Hall — but what is engaged citizenship if not making demands of those in power?

Without the right to make demands, “free speech” is a hollow term. As Frederick Douglass famously stated, “Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never did, and it never will.” Demanding transparency and democratic control over the use of university funding is completely legitimate — especially now, as the costs of a college education continue to soar, forcing an unbearable burden of debt onto students. Indeed, as many of us face tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, we recognize the necessity and urgency of building movements on campus to demand that higher education be accessible for all people, regardless of income.

On the other hand, the behavior of administration in response to the #ReclaimOSU action is appalling. All people have a right to freedom of speech, and that includes students. The attempt to silence student voices when faced with demands for fiscal transparency reflects the increasingly corporate perspective of university administrators — one that prioritizes the interests of profit over accountability and collaboration with students, faculty and staff. We find this deeply disturbing, and it calls to question the ethical standards of the university administration as a whole.

In the spirit of the old union slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all,” we refuse to sit by as university administrators threaten students who raise their voices for justice. We call on administration to cease their intimidation tactics, allow students their right to assemble peacefully and respect the demand for political discourse.

We encourage the students of #ReclaimOSU to continue organizing and fighting for their demands, and we pledge to do whatever we can to support these efforts.

 

Signed,
Constance Hammond Osler, Class of 1971
Timm Mackley, BME, Class of 1973; Ph.D., Class of 2000

Gary J. Leppla, JD, Class of 1978
Joseph Yohn, MD  Classes of 1979 and 1982

Dale Nawrocki, Class of 1982
Shirley Tobias, MA, Class of 1983
Deborah Greeley Yohn, BSN, Class of 1983
Heidi Marie Detty, Class of 1986
David A. Leppla, MS 1986, Ph.D. 1989

Steve Palm-Houser, MA, 1988
Susan Oehler, Class of 1993
Pr. Grant Eckhart, Class of 1999
Adriana Faur, Class of 2000
Kevin Truitt, Class of 2000

Hillary Wilson, Class of 2001
Adrienne M. Stevens, Class of 2002
Jennie Scheinbach, Class of 2003
Christine Task, Class of 2003
Norman A. Wilcox, Jr, Class of 2003
K. A. Gabele Douglass, Class of 2004
Jody Harmon, Class of 2004

Dominic Leppla, Class of 2004

Mike Newman, Class of 2004
Mark Stansbery, Class of 2004
David Sproles, Class of 2005
Christine Annarino, Class of 2006
Brian Deller, Class of 2006
Sarah Grosh, Class of 2006; MA, Class of 2008

Lisa Lea Allshouse, MSW, Class of 2007

Kerra S. Carson, Class of 2007

Noura Dabdoub, Class of 2007, 2011
Peter Galehouse, Class of 2007
Anup Gampa, Class of 2007

Laura Tompkins, Class of 2007

Scott Woods, Class of 2007
Nora Balduff, MSW, Class of 2008
Jennifer Gable, Class of 2008

Kate Ruff, Class of 2008
Kyle Landis, Class of 2009

Khayyam U. Qidwai, MA, Class of 2009
Matthew Westergaard, Class of 2009
Samantha Agarwal, Class of 2010
Jan Avende, M.Ed. Class of 2010
Dawn Chisebe, Class of 2010
Matt Chisman, J.D., Class of 2010
Sam Cooler, Class of 2010
Kathryn Curry-Da-Souza, Class of 2010
Vikas Gampa, Class of 2010

Eliana Verónica Davis, MA, Class of 2010
Samantha Netzley, Class of 2010

Joseph Orser, PhD., Class of 2010
Theresa Yoon-Haring, Class of 2010
Tyler Adams, MA, Class of 2011
Glenn Collins, Class of 2011

Emily Cotman, Class of 2011

Valerie V. Hendrickson, Class of 2011
Shonda Holman, Class of 2011

Adam Larkins, Class of 2011, 2014
Thomas Lee, Class of 2011

Ryan Marchese, Class of 2011
Laura MacInnis, Class of 2011

Jessi Middleton, Class of 2011

Rajeev Ravisankar, MPA, Class of 2011

Jennifer Black, PhD., Class of 2012

Emma Chomin, Class of 2012
Rashida Davison, Class of 2012

Erika Deem, Class of 2012
Victoria A. Genetin, Ph.D., Class of 2012
Miguel V Guevara, Class of 2012
James Hayes, Class of 2012
Molly Hendrix, Class of 2012
Elizabeth Jones, M.Ed., Class of 2012
Hannah Langhoff, MFA, Class of 2012

Jessica Larkins, Class of 2012
Stuart McIntyre, Class of 2012
Thanh Nguyen, Class of 2012

Nicholas Pasquarello, Class of 2012
Joe Panzner, Ph.D., Class of 2012
Lee Pepper, Class of 2012
Chelsea Pflum, Class of 2012

Mazen Rasoul, Esq., Class of 2012
Molly Shack, Class of 2012
Jennifer Skidmore, MA, Class of 2012
Andrea Chu, Class of 2013

Janelle Henderson, MHRM, Class of 2013

Lauren Hines, MA, Class of 2013

Jade Holmes, Class of 2013
Carolynne Jones, Class of 2013

Kyle Kerley, Class of 2013
Daniel Lacan-Bradley, Class of 2013
Andrew Lin, Class of 2013
Lindsay McCord, Class of 2013

Kimberly McKee, Ph.D., Class of 2013

Matthew Methe, Class of 2013
Taylor Micks, Class of 2013
Ariel Miller, Class of 2013
Maegan Miller, Class of 2013
Crystal Obiukwu, Class of 2013

Danielle Olden, Ph.D., Class of 2013
Kyle Olsen, Class of 2013
Claire Ravenscroft, Class of 2013

Rachel Reiser, Class of 2013
Casey Slive, Class of 2013
Nathan Vanderhorst, Class of 2013

Nancy Yan, PhD, Class of 2013

Natalie Yoon, Class of 2013
James Yoon-Haring, MA, Class of 2013

Timothy Adams, Class of 2014
Andrew Benge, Class of 2014
Trevor Britton, Class of 2014
Danya Contractor, Class of 2014

Nicholas Jon Crane, PhD, Class of 2014
Stephen David, MSW, Class of 2014
Josh Davies, Class of 2014

Madison Eagle, Class of 2014
Omar Gowayed, Class of 2014
Bradley Hinger, Class of 2014
Adrian Jusdanis, Class of 2014

Avishek Konar, Class of 2014
Chase Ledin, Class of 2014
Regina Morin, Class of 2014, MSW 2015
Devin Oliver, Class of 2014
Diana Senchery, Class of 2014

Hannah Tyler, MPA, Class of 2014
Brian Yeh, Class of 2014
Destiny Allen, Class of 2015
Debra Beight,  Class of 2015

Laura Cook, Class of 2015

Sarah Almusbahi, Class of 2015
Aamna Aziz, Class of 2015

Kate Baker, Class of 2015
Shelby Brewster, MA, Class of 2015
Sayoni Bose, Ph.D, Class of 2015
Adam Burnfin, Class of 2015
Josh Coy, MA, Class of 2015

Daniel Darvish, Class of 2015
Lindsey Eckert, Class of 2015

Amanda Ferguson, Class of 2015
Abigail Green, Class of 2015
Erica Haugtvedt, Ph.D., Class of 2015
Nat Henry, Class of 2015
Colleen Kishman, Class of 2015

Cruz Bonlarron Martínez, Class of 2015
Yalidy Matos, Ph.D, Class of 2015

Will Myers, Class of 2015
Sarah Nocar, Class of 2015
Caitlyn Quigley, Class of 2015
Brendan Quinn, Class 2015

Allison Rigel, Class of 2015

Timothy Singratsomboune, Class of 2015
Sara Stanger, Class of 2015

 

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