Fall at Ohio State brings with it the usual joys and sorrows — the excitement of football games in the Horseshoe, the stress of studying after a long summer break and the arrival of wintry cold and snow. This quarter was no exception. But this quarter was anything but conventional. One of the most popular campus traditions got bumped by a holiday, the president of the U.S. made a dash through campus and the university effectively became a police state after a bomb threat led officials to close several buildings. Here’s a look back at Autumn Quarter 2010.
Obama on campus
President Barack Obama appeared in front an estimated crowd of 35,000 on OSU’s Oval on Oct. 17. The president, first lady Michelle Obama and Democratic leaders from Ohio were here as part of the Democratic campaign for the November elections.
Obama warned attendees that Wall Street values would govern America if the Republicans gained power in November’s election. He pointed to health care legislation and education reform as the marks of his party’s success.
The appearance marked his largest rally since his election but it was not enough to sway voters. Republicans regained power in Ohio, the nation’s capital and across the U.S.
The rally also marked the first time Michelle Obama joined the president on the campaign trail since her husband’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Hosting the president cost OSU nearly $80,000 in safety and security operations, preparation and cleanup costs, and transportation and parking services.
Soon after Obama’s visit, Four Loko, created by three OSU alumni, made national news when nine students at Central Washington University were hospitalized after drinking the popular alcoholic energy drink.
Some states, such as Michigan and Utah, banned the drink, but for a while, it did not seem like Ohio would follow suit.
On the same day the Food and Drug Administration warned drink manufacturers to make their product safe or risk its removal from stores nationwide, the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control made its own announcement.
The department issued a statement on Nov. 17 saying that Four Loko and Joose, a similar product, would be removed from the shelves of all Ohio liquor stores.
Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko, had already announced on Nov. 16 that it would remove the caffeine, taurine and guarana from the product, and the FDA said it will work with the company to ensure the safety of the product.
The division, however, said the final reformulated product would have to be approved before Ohio vendors could resume sales.
Since the announcement, the product has flown off the shelves of campus-area vendors and into students’ hands, with some purchasing about 100 cans at a time. Many vendors have raised the price of Four Loko as a result.
The stores will continue to sell the product until they run out.
Some students eagerly await the reformulated product, while others scramble to get their hands on what’s left of the current version.
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 went on 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 e-mails.
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.
Mirror Lake Jump
Just a few weeks after the bomb scare, campus was celebrating Beat Michigan Week.
But tradition changed this year when Thanksgiving bumped the date of the Mirror Lake Jump — usually the Thursday before the Michigan football game. Because of a shift in the football schedule, the traditional day for the jump landed on Thanksgiving Day.
Still, about 30,000 students made the jump on Tuesday, Nov. 23. A few who were reluctant to break tradition made the plunge on Thursday night.
OSU students got their wish when the Buckeyes defeated Michigan for the seventh year in a row with a score of 37-7.