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.
Fourth-year in Industrial and Systems Engineering