Home » News » Tressel resigns, bin Laden killed, Wexner donates $100M: The year in review

Tressel resigns, bin Laden killed, Wexner donates $100M: The year in review

The 2010-2011 school year had its highs and lows, ranging from a campus-wide celebration of the death of Osama bin Laden to the end of Jim Tressel’s coaching career.

As commencement for many seniors is less than a week away, take a minute to reflect on the year that was, with several highlights from this past year in The Lantern.

Jim Tressel resigns

After 10 years and one tumultuous offseason, Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State’s football coach May 30.

President E. Gordon Gee released a statement saying assistant coach Luke Fickell will coach the entire 2011 season and that a search for a permanent head coach will not start until after the upcoming season.

Tressel was facing a five-game suspension and $250,000 fine for failing to report NCAA violations that his players committed.

“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” Tressel said in a statement released by the university. “The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”

On Dec. 23, 2010, the NCAA suspended quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, offensive tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas for five games for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits from Eddie Rife, owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor. Linebacker Jordan Whiting also earned a one-game ban.

OSU originally suspended Tressel for two games, but the coach later asked for his punishment to match that of his players. Fickell is to take over during Tressel’s absence.

“We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best – representing this extraordinary university and its values on the field, in the classroom and in life,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program.”

Woodfest arrests

Columbus police officers responded to a disorderly crowd and several house parties in mid-May. Police used pepper spray to control the situation.

The block party, Woodfest ‘11, took place one block east of High Street on Woodruff Avenue. Officers from the Columbus Police Department, armed with pepper spray, demanded that people get off the street and leave the area.

According to the police report, officers encountered a large crowd on Woodruff and saw several house parties with more than 1,000 people blocking the street.

Two OSU students and one other man were arrested May 15 after Columbus police officers cleared East Woodruff Avenue with pepper spray.

Matthew Coleman, a 19-year-old majoring in biology, Brian Witt, a 21-year-old majoring in civil engineering, and Michael Shivak, 21, were arrested for assault on a police officer following the block party, Woodfest ‘11.

Coleman and Shivak have a June 13 court date for their arraignment hearing in criminal court.

Shivak was charged with assault on a police officer, and Coleman was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer. Both were charged with obstructing official business. Coleman tried to evade police and sustained “minor injuries” in the process, said Sgt. Richard Weiner of the Columbus Police Department.

Witt was charged with assaulting a police officer, but has not yet been indicted as police are still investigating his case, said Christy McCreary, spokeswoman for the Franklin County prosecutor’s office.

Osama bin Laden dead; OSU reacts

President Barack Obama announced to the nation and to the world on May 1 that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, is dead. OSU students abandoned their studies, sleep and law-abiding ways to celebrate.

“I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children,” Obama said in his address to the nation.

OSU students quickly began to celebrate.

John Bischoff, a third-year in hospitality management, said he was sacrificing study time to celebrate with his fellow Buckeyes.

“I mean, I’ve got a three-page paper due in about six hours, and I’m here. I mean, why not? America, f— yeah,” Bischoff said.

Hundreds of students joined Bischoff to share their excitement in Obama’s announcement. Fireworks were visible from all around campus, students jumped into Mirror Lake and general patriotic celebration commenced. Students at Mirror Lake chanted “USA” and sang “God Bless America,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and other various patriotic chanting.

OSU, Wexner announce $100M donation

Leslie Wexner and the Limited Brands Foundation announced a donation of $100 million to OSU on Feb. 16. This donation was the largest-recorded philanthropic gift in OSU history.

During the announcement, Wexner spoke about how much the university meant to him as an alumnus, and said “But for Ohio State” he wouldn’t be where he is today. OSU students have displayed the phrase throughout campus and even on T-shirts, showing their gratitude to Wexner.

“The way I think about it, it probably began about 35 years ago,” Wexner said. “But for Ohio State, I wouldn’t have gone to college. It was an important institution in my life.”

Wexner is the chairman and CEO of Limited Brands Inc., a 1959 OSU alumnus and a Board of Trustees chair for OSU.

Shelly Hoffman, assistant vice president for media relations for the university, said Wexner’s gift will be dispersed across a nine-year period. The donation is scheduled to be completed in 2020, with $20 million being donated this year.

Hoffman said $65 million of the total $100 million is a personal gift from Wexner and his wife, Abigail. The remaining $35 million is a gift from the Limited Brands Foundation to the university.

Hacked: Data breach costly for Ohio State, victims of compromised info

OSU revealed a data breach on Dec. 15 that jeopardized the identities of 760,000 people and could cost the university millions.

In October, hackers accessed the server that stored the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses of current and former students, faculty, applicants and others affiliated with the university.

University officials said every current and former student, faculty and staff member was sent an email Dec. 15 informing them of the breach and precautions the university was taking in the breach’s aftermath.

The breach will cost the university about $4 million in expenses related to investigative consulting, notification of the breach, credit security and a calling center for anyone with questions or concerns. Between the time and notification of the breach, the university hired two computer security consulting firms, Interhack Corp., based in Columbus, and Stroz Friedberg LLC, based in New York.

The firms found no evidence that data was stolen, but the university is offering 12 months of free credit protection to everyone whose information was on the server through Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

This was the largest data breach among educational institutions in 2010 and in OSU’s history, according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, an organization that protects consumers’ privacy rights.

Almost six months later, university officials remain silent.

Kathleen Starkoff, the university’s Chief Information Officer and Steve Romig, associate director of Information Technology security in the CIO’s office, have no email records containing the phrase “data breach” before Dec. 5, according to documents obtained by The Lantern through open records requests.

urity shrouds the issue, as university spokesman Jim Lynch serves as OSU’s voice on this matter.

Contacts from the university’s IT department, including Starkoff, Romig and Charles Morrow-Jones, director of IT security, refused comment and referred The Lantern to Lynch.

Bomb threat

On Nov. 16, the FBI alerted OSU Police that it received threats targeting four campus buildings — McPherson Chemical Laboratory, Scott Laboratory, Smith Laboratory and William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library.

More than 1,500 students were told to leave those buildings shortly after 9 a.m. when OSU officials announced they were investigating the threats. Classes in those buildings were canceled for the day, but other classes on campus continued as usual.

The buildings remained closed until the evening, when investigators announced they did not find any explosives.

The threat raised concerns about Buckeye Alert, OSU’s emergency alert system that informs students, faculty and families of emergencies via texts, phone calls and emails.

Some students who were registered for the alerts said they did not receive them, and many students said they were unaware of the threat.

The Undergraduate Student Government used the threat as evidence that the university should switch to an opt-out alert system rather than the one in place now, which requires students to go online to sign up for the alerts.

Days after the threat, university officials said the emergency notification system would shift to an opt-out system that automatically enrolls students beginning in 2011. 

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