As controversy surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavana
ugh shakes the nation, students and Columbus citizens alike gathered to protest outside Thompson library Thursday evening.
Hosted by the International Socialist Organization, the “Cancel Kavanaugh” protest aimed to speak out against the nomination of Kavanaugh and express support for victims of sexual abuse, according to Carrie Stratton, Ohio State alumna and co-organizer of the protest.
This protest falls in line with a number of other “Cancel Kavanaugh” protests that sprung up around the country Thursday in reaction to last week’s Senate hearing regarding sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford.
“This is a day of national action. There are protests in cities all across the country, perhaps all across the world, and we have to see that that makes a difference,” Stratton said. “Roe v. Wade was passed on one of the most conservative supreme courts and it was passed because there were thousands of people in the streets demanding that it be passed.”
With over 100 people in attendance, protesters took turns standing on the steps of the Thompson statue voicing stories of survival, words of hope, support for victims and anger with sexual violence perpetrators.
“We stand with survivors and we stand against abusers and we don’t think that a person who has committed abuse against women and has a proven track record of misogynist policies should be on the Supreme Court,” Coco Smyth, Ohio State alumnus and ISO member said.
The event, while centered around Kavanaugh, also brought up concerns with Ohio State in relation to head football coach Urban Meyer and his knowledge of domestic violence allegations made against a former assistant coach and also resources for sexual violence advocacy. One sign at the protest read, “OSU fosters sexual assault.”
“This kind of thing is happening at the level of the Supreme Court, but it happened right here on OSU’s campus with Urban Meyer,” Andrea Gutmann Fuentes, treasurer of ISO and fourth-year in linguistics and comparative culture studies, said.
Emotions ran high at the event, with many protesters sharing stories of their experience with sexual assault. The protest garnered a large gathering, attracting counter-protesters, bystanders and Kavanaugh supporters.
Counter-protesters lingered on the outskirts of the crowd, some holding signs in support of Kavanaugh. Thomas Fogarty, a second-year history student, demonstrated his support of Kavanaugh’s nomination and held a sign that said, “#BelieveEvidence.”
“Until I see any corroborative evidence of the story of Christine Blasey-Ford against Judge Kavanaugh, I’m inclined to believe what the evidence has presented,” Fogarty said. “And currently the evidence has presented more substantiated view that Mr. Kavanaugh did not assault Christine Blasey-Ford.”
Other bystanders challenged the reasoning of protest.
“I think this [protest] is not constructive,” Dan Zevallos, a second-year in political science, said. “They should all be out getting people registered to vote and volunteering for candidates. That’s how you make change. Not just making noise.”
At the end of the event, lead organizers encouraged crowd members to join the organizations involved in planning the protest.
Co-sponsors of the protest included #Fight4Her campaign, Ohio Green Party, Ohio Student Association, Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus and Young Democratic Socialists of America OSU.
“It means a lot that people came out today and people are bringing their trauma and bringing their stories and bringing their pain and that they’re ready to fight and mobilize for a better world,” Stratton said.