Letter to the editor:

As Ohio State’s College Republicans, we understand and respect that the university will bring speakers to campus whose viewpoints do not align with our own. Often those speakers are politicians, professors or other greats in their respective fields. These individuals provide an account of his or her own knowledge and create an environment of learning based on years of experience. Josh Fox is not one of these individuals.

Who is Josh Fox? He is the environmental activist and documentarian responsible for “Gasland,” a film that seeks to discredit hydraulic fracturing practices (or “fracking”) through largely anecdotal evidence. It is Oscar nominated, yes, but there is no requirement that documentaries honored in that awards ceremony be free of narrative liberties. In fact, Josh has been criticized since the release of his film for not being completely factual in his accounts.

The OUAB social media accounts state that this Thursday there will be a “political policy and federal legislational (sic) lecture” featuring Mr. Fox, with absolutely no mention of the likely partisan content therein. Not only that, but Wednesday’s “Flicks for Free” featured his second film devoted to fracking, “Gasland Pt. II.” Disguised as an informative legislative lecture, OUAB is hosting a highly controversial political activist on the students’ dime.

This is an unacceptable use of the student activity fee. OUAB has done excellent political events in the past, like 2012’s debate between Karl Rove and James Carville, but this event does nothing to heighten the level of debate or knowledge present among the student body. This brings a hyper-partisan activist to speak on a subject in a completely one-sided fashion disguised as an informative event. It does so without providing a voice on the other side to speak in opposition and it is unlikely that we ever would have seen OUAB host a premiere of Phelim McAleer’s documentary “Fracknation,” which defends hydraulic fracturing practices. And we, as students of the Ohio State University, will receive a double dose of this one-sidedness with back-to-back events taking place, each featuring Fox. 

As a political organization, we welcome dissent. We welcome bipartisanship. This year, we have worked together with the College Democrats collegially on events that benefit all students. We also have engaged in debates with other political organizations. It is worth it to the student body, when presenting a debated current issue, to provide voices from both sides and allow students to make their own informed decisions. Inviting Josh Fox to speak, while not marketing exactly who he is and what background he possesses to qualify him to speak on this topic, is a poor use of the money that students pay to the university, and we are very disappointed in OUAB for this event. 

Sam Zuidema
Chairman of College Republicans at OSU
Fourth-year in history and political science
zuidema.1@osu.edu

Miranda Onnen
Communications director of College Republicans at OSU
Fourth-year in political science and economics
onnen.3@osu.edu