Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government is among the 50-plus undergraduate student governments across the country to denounce the white nationalist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.
The university leaders signed a statement that said they stand in solidarity with University of Virginia, the campus of which white nationalists marched through Friday night.
“College campuses are spaces that students should be able to call home, not places of violence, hate, and racism,” the statement said. “Students should always feel welcome and safe at our incredible higher education institutions, never having to fear for their personal well-being. As the voice of our students, we collectively call on one another to speak up in the face of injustice, as silence reduces us to bystanders in oppression.”
Members of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis and other white nationalist groups gathered for the “Unite the Right” rally. The rally was planned to be a demonstration over the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.
A heavy presence of counter protesters stood juxtaposed with the white nationalist groups, speaking out against their message before it turned violent.
The violence reached its peak when, authorities said, 20-year-old Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter demonstrators, which many government officials, including National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, have labeled an act of domestic terrorism.
The crash left one dead, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and NBC news reported 35 others were injured.
Student leaders from University of Alabama, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Kent State University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and University of Cincinnati were among the many who signed the statement.
The statement said that those who signed it advocate for victimized and marginalized students on all campuses, and support students and universities in peaceful resistance to violence, racism, white supremacy, bigotry and acts of terrorism on campuses and beyond.
Andrew Jackson, a fourth-year in Spanish and political science and Sophie Chang a fourth-year in environment, economy, sustainability and development — the president and vice president of Ohio State’s USG, respectively — said in an additional statement they will not allow this violence and attitude of white nationalists to happen on Ohio State’s campus.
“It should not be allowed to happen on any institution’s campus around the nation,” they said.