More than 100 demonstrators gathered outside of Bricker Hall Thursday to protest the university’s handling of a public safety notice for the second time in two weeks.
The protesters met at 1:30 p.m. at Bricker Hall, home to University President Kristina M. Johnson’s office, and began marching around 1:45 p.m. The demonstrators moved to the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building, where Johnson was visiting engineering students, according to her Twitter account.
This is the second protest in response to a Sept. 3 public safety notice about a pair of aggravated assaults on white students by a Black man and woman near campus that were classified under federal law as hate crimes. The demonstrators said the notice and the subsequent handling of the situation was rushed and endangered Black students.
“I want to make it abundantly clear,” Amanya Paige, a second-year in strategic communication and sociology and vice chair of systems and operations of the Black Caucus, said through a megaphone. “We are upset, we are out here protesting because a target was put on our backs because of the public safety notice.”
Destiny Brown, a fourth-year in political science, said the protest was not organized by an individual or organization, but rather the larger Black community at Ohio State. Brown is also the director of governmental relations for the Undergraduate Student Government and was a key speaker at both the initial Sept. 8 protest and Thursday’s protest.
After the Sept. 8 protest, demonstrators emailed demands to Kristina M. Johnson, Senior Vice President of Administration and Planning Jay Kasey and Director of Public Safety Monica Moll.
The demands include calls for Kristina M. Johnson to produce an action plan to address racial injustice in public safety and for Ohio State to send out a university-wide email addressing its errors in the handling of the public safety notice and its aftermath.
University spokesperson Ben Johnson said in an email Wednesday that all three officials received the demands and that no email appeared to request a meeting with them.
Ohio State Chief of Police Kimberly Spears-McNatt and Moll have addressed the notice and said that the mistake was an “oversight” and that they remain committed to the safety of all students. Moll sent a follow-up email to the public safety notice Sept. 4 that provided additional information about the incidents.
Brown said an official from the Department of Public Safety requested a meeting with her, but she declined.
“This is the meeting, this is the table,” Brown said of Thursday’s protest. “You are called to the table. This is the community talking to you.”
The protesters left chalk messages on the sidewalk outside of the CBEC building and moved back to Bricker Hall, where they left more messages. They then moved onto Annie and John Glenn Avenue and began to block traffic.
The protesters marched through campus before heading south on Neil Avenue.
Speakers reminded the protesters to maintain social distancing, use hand sanitizer and hydrate throughout the demonstration. COVID-19-related restrictions do not apply to gatherings for the purpose of expressing First Amendment speech, Kristina M. Johnson said in a universitywide email Aug. 11.