University leaders gathered in the Ohio Union Wednesday to reflect on the character of the Ohio State, one year after a car-and-knife attack struck campus.
President Michael Drake, Senior Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston and Undergraduate Student Government President Andrew Jackson spoke of the university’s strength in the face of tragedy.
Shortly before 10 a.m. on Nov. 28, 2016, 13 people were injured after Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove a car into a crowd of people and proceeded to attack bystanders on foot with a knife before he was shot and killed by Ohio State police officer Alan Horujko.
“It has been one year since we experienced one of the most difficult days we have ever had on this campus,” Adams-Gaston said in her opening speech. “It was a time that tested our resiliency, our resolve and our strength, and I am so proud of our Ohio State community. Together we proved that we are resilient, that we are resolved and that we are, ‘Buckeye Strong.’”
Drake, who spoke after Adams-Gaston and Jackson, mentioned Ohio State adopted the phrase “Buckeye Strong” to encompass the bravery of first responders, students, faculty, staff members and medical personnel affected by the attack that morning.
“We know that this was a tragic event that will never leave their memory, but we know that there’s been an incredible amount of growth since that time,” he said. “All throughout central Ohio, we came together as a community.”
Drake advised students to count their blessings and realize the opportunities given to “Buckeye Nation.”
“The most important thing for all of us is that we come together, to support ourselves through those times and we continue to work together to make this a better world,” Drake said.
Jackson focused on the importance of Ohio State being a home for students and the resolve needed to help the university continue to grow in the future.
“One of the most important characteristics of our community that stands out from other universities is the concept of home,” he said. “Our diverse Buckeye community offers students a place to feel comfortable, respected and safe. Each day we strive to uphold those standards for our current community and for students that come after us.”
Jackson said Ohio State “has proven itself nothing short of resilient,” and said he believes the university’s reaction to situations like the attack is what “separates our community from others.”
“We are one university, one community and all Buckeyes,” Jackson said.
At the end of the speeches, Drake invited all of those in attendance to gather arm-in-arm to sing the “Carmen Ohio” inscribed above the crowd, centered in the Ohio Union.