As Columbus, Ohio, approached its 10 p.m. curfew, Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers asked students to “please, take care and be safe” in a universitywide email as protests in the city Saturday saw violence as protesters were pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed and shot with projectiles.
“I hope you saw those six words and know that wherever you are in the world, you are a valued member of our community,” Shivers’ email continues.
The week-long protests — which began in Minneapolis as a response to the death of George Floyd — quickly escalated and spread across the nation.
A viral video circulated of Floyd’s death Monday showing former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin — who has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office — kneeling on his neck while he was handcuffed to the ground for several minutes.
“However you need to process, consider and ponder the killing of George Floyd, and however you choose to make a difference and add to the dialogue, I implore you to do so in a way that keeps your safety, and the safety of those around you, utmost in your mind,” Shivers wrote.
Shiver’s message comes a few hours after University President Michael V. Drake addressed the university community in a brief email.
Ohio State students have participated in the protests downtown for the past three days. At least one student, Seth Towns, was detained by Columbus Police Friday.
Towns, a player on the men’s Ohio State basketball team, was released shortly after.
Saturday’s protest began peacefully but turned violent when protesters threw objects at police near the Statehouse. Police responded with tear gas and pepper spray.
A state of emergency was declared and protesters were ordered to disperse.
In a 5 p.m. press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the Ohio National Guard to supplement the actions of Columbus Police.
A curfew was issued for Columbus, Ohio, starting at 10 p.m. Saturday and will end Sunday at 6 a.m.