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Letter to the Editor: I was supposed to be

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Ohio State students join together in front of President Michael Drake’s office during in a sit-in at Bricker Hall on April 6. Credit: Mitch Hooper / For The Lantern

Ohio State students join together in front of President Michael Drake’s office during in a sit-in at Bricker Hall on April 6. Credit: Mitch Hooper / For The Lantern

I’m supposed to be getting an education. I’m supposed to be working on a group project. I’m supposed to be focused on my studies. I’m supposed to enjoy time with my girlfriend. But right now, I’m irate.

Why? Wednesday night, my peers at Ohio State were threatened with expulsion and arrest by Senior Vice President Jay Kasey. This is because he doesn’t know what to do about a handful of peaceful protesters. He doesn’t want to listen to the demands of his own university’s students. 

We attend a grand institution with fine faculty, facilities, history and above all, passionate, hard-working students. On many days, I’m extremely proud to be a Buckeye. But not tonight. Tonight, I am faced with doubt about what my university considers important. Important is a branding initiative. Important is a football team, or a baseball team. Important is the public image. Important is prestige. Important is getting these students out of my office, because apparently their voice doesn’t matter right now.

When times got tough for our admins, they didn’t have the conversation. It was too inconvenient. Ask human-rights victims how they feel about inconvenience. Ask a disenfranchised segment of the population how they feel about inconvenience. Ask the activists how they feel about inconvenience. Ask me how I feel about inconvenience.

I’m supposed to be aware that I have the right to protest peacefully. I’m supposed to feel empowered to demonstrate my right as an American to engage in public discourse about what is wrong in the world. I’m supposed to be helping myself learn to become a better global citizen, treating my fellow human beings with respect.

I’m not even sure how strongly I feel about each of the issues brought up by #ReclaimOSU. But, I know that when an admin threatens expulsion for peaceful protest, I need to rethink my trust in that administration to best serve my academic and democratic freedom, and whether they believe my opinion actually matters. And you should, too.

Jeremiah Lawson

Fourth-year in Industrial and Systems Engineering

3 comments

  1. FEW will dispute the right to protest and that of free speech. MANY will dispute and refute the ‘right’ of a person to disrupt and interfere in the activities, lives and rights of others while in the process and performance of those rights.

    This was the case when the people protesting began breaking rules and laws intended to protect the rights of ALL.

    The U.S. legal system establishes and protects all of these things for both sides.

    Protest without infringement on others and existing rules (such as people without authorization not being allowed in a building past hours without purpose or authorization). This leads to peaceful discourse. Begin a conversation with either overt or covert threats (micro-aggressions) and problems usually follow close behind.

    Best of luck. Support you for having your opinion and voicing it. Do not agree with your methodology. Therefore, your message is begins to become devalued.

    Sorry.

    We are a nation of rules and laws. Abide by them ALL, not just those that you self select as being ‘right, legal, good vs bad, etc.” and I too shall listen with open ears. Right now, in this case, sorry but become more global, thoughtful and well educated in the system please.

  2. Steve Tuhela-Reuning

    This administration is out of touch, and refuses open discussion. The Board of Trustees have ignored official requests to speak filed for every board meeting for two years… I support #ReclaimOSU for their peaceful protests. The inconvenience of keeping a building open, is less than the cost OSU paid for the Franklin County Sheriff staff at this mornings Trustees meeting (which wasn’t needed).

  3. You’re all morons

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