A look back at President Drake’s tenure through headlines

By Max Garrison

Michael V. Drake went into work Tuesday for his last day of 2,192 days as university president.

The university has seen scandal, tragedy and triumph during Drake’s six-year tenure. From The Lantern archives, here are some of the major headlines during his time at Ohio State.

Board of Trustees announces UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake as next Ohio State president

Jan. 30, 2014

Ohio State officials announced Thursday Michael Drake as the university’s next president, effective June 30.

“I am deeply honored by your nomination and the confidence you display in me,” Drake said. “I’m truly excited and honored to be here today.”

Drake said the OSU presidency is in many ways the “premier” position in higher education in the U.S.

“Ohio State is bold in its intention to inspire greatness in its faculty, staff and students … I am deeply humbled by this opportunity and looking forward to joining the Buckeye community.”

Drake was appointed chancellor of UC Irvine in 2005. Before his appointment, he served as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system for five years.

Michael Drake set to receive more than $1M annually as Ohio State president

Jan. 31, 2014

Ohio State’s next appointed president Michael Drake is set to earn more than $1 million including a base compensation of $800,000, deferred compensation of $200,000 and other perks.

Drake’s contract also says he will be provided with laboratory space in the College of Medicine and research funds up to $50,000 per year for as long as he is president.

He is set to receive an automobile stipend of $1,200 per month and will be expected to live at the OSU presidential residence.

Former OSU President E. Gordon Gee earned nearly $1.9 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year at OSU.


President Michael Drake talks to the media and members of the OSU community June 30, 2014.
Credit: Mark Batke | Former Photo Editor

Dr. Michael Drake begins first day as Ohio State’s 15th president

June 30, 2014

In his first day as Ohio State’s president, Dr. Michael Drake said he plans to prioritize excellence, opportunities, and the university’s relationship with the community during the beginning of his presidency.

“(Our) priorities are to focus on the things that got us here,” Drake said in a meet-and-greet held for him Monday morning at Bricker Hall. “This is a wonderful university with a great impact over many, many decades.”

Jonathan Waters’ firing not the first under President Michael Drake to draw negative feedback

Aug. 12, 2014

Though Ohio State has not explicitly said whether it’s considered rehiring former marching band director Jonathan Waters, if he was rehired, it wouldn’t be the first time President Michael Drake reversed a high-profile dismissal.

Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month OSU investigation into a complaint from a band member’s parent found “serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment within the marching band,” according to an OSU statement. It was found that Waters was either aware of, or reasonably should have been aware of that culture, but did not do enough to address it.

Drake has largely been the face of OSU’s side in the matter. The day Waters was fired, he released a statement and an approximately three-minute-long video about the investigation’s findings and the decision to terminate Waters. Because of this, some arguing for Waters to be rehired have addressed their opinions to him.

It’s a situation he’s likely familiar with.

Michael Drake: ‘I really support a collegiate model’ for compensating student-athletes

Jan. 26, 2015

Ohio State President Michael Drake has had a son and a nephew compete in collegiate athletics, and said he doesn’t support the idea of pay-for-play for college athletes.

“I think the professional athletics are one thing, and the collegiate athletics are another,” Drake said during a Monday interview with The Lantern. “And I really support a collegiate model.”

Under current NCAA rules, schools can provide student-athletes with their full cost of attendance, but athletes don’t receive a salary or additional pay from the school. They are also prohibited from receiving compensation for anything related to their participation in athletics, including signing autographs or selling memorabilia.

In August, the O’Bannon v. NCAA trial resulted in a ruling that said schools could not prohibit student athletes from earning a portion of the revenue from using a player’s likeness by, for example, selling their jerseys or pictures. 

President Michael Drake speaks to The Lantern staff during a Jan. 26, 2015, interview.
Credit: Jon McAllister | Former Asst. Photo Editor

March 30, 2015 — Ohio State President Michael Drake compared his time at the university so far to a cross-country marathon through beautiful terrain.

“Sometimes it’s up and down, sometimes there’s gravel, but the terrain is incredible, and you’re really involved in that and moving forward,” he said.

Drake stresses community engagement, diversity at investiture

March 31, 2015

“The university must continue to be a beacon that illuminates the clearest path to the American Dream. And it must continue to do so while maintaining the access, affordability and excellence that have defined our finest public universities since their inception.”

In his “investiture address,” he spoke about how his past shaped his character and the future he envisions for OSU, instilling his stories with the administration’s common themes of access, affordability and excellence.

$400 million initiative

In the marquee topic of his speech, Drake announced a five-year, $400 million plan that would redirect funds toward academics and need-based scholarships.

President Drake’s affordability plan proposes to freeze in-state, increase out-of-state tuition

May 8, 2015

A plan by university President Michael Drake would freeze tuition for Ohio residents, as well as fees and housing and dining costs for the 2015-16 school year. But the plan would raise the cost of out-of-state and international students’ tuition.

The plan, announced Friday in an emailed statement from Drake addressed to faculty, students and staff, is set to be proposed to the Board of Trustees for approval in June.

Called the “affordability proposal,” the plan would seek to freeze rates on “in-state tuition, mandatory fees, housing, dining and all undergraduate program, course and learning technology fees on the Columbus campus,” according to a university press release.

Opinion: President Michael Drake should ban university-funded travel to Indiana

This April 2, 2015, letter was written by Lantern staff member Kevin Stankiewicz

Congratulations on officially becoming the 15th president of The Ohio State University on Tuesday at your investiture ceremony. I look forward to having you lead the school throughout my next three years here and beyond.

In your investiture address, you made note of intolerance across our country and said that “universities — of all places — must welcome and celebrate all individuals, regardless of race, class, culture, orientation or identity.”

I agree. Your statement is 100 percent accurate, and that is why in light of recent legislation passed in our neighboring state of Indiana, I am asking you to ban all university-funded travel to the state as long as Senate Bill 101, in its current form, is enacted.

SB 101, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, allows businesses to state “free exercise” of religion and use it as a defense against lawsuits. Effectively, this will allow business owners to deny any service to individuals who might conflict with their religious beliefs and then use the law as defense in court. Opponents, such as myself, fear this will allow for discrimination against LGBT individuals.

But it does not stop there. The law would allow a Christian owner of a coffee shop to deny a Jewish man wearing a kippah service if the owner feels “substantially burdened.” The issue is that “substantially burdened” is vague and could prove to be a slippery slope.

University President Michael Drake sits with members of The Lantern staff during an interview in 2016.
Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo Editor

Drake announces $20 million in affordability grants during University Address

Jan. 22, 2016

University President Michael Drake announced during the State of the University Address Thursday afternoon that Ohio State is on course to increase the president’s affordability grant program by $5 million next academic year.

This expansion, added to grants announced by the president last July, would create a total of $20 million in need-based financial aid through the grant program.

Next year’s grants will provide aid to about 15,700 undergraduates, including more than 3,000 students at OSU regional campuses, Drake said. This addition would bring a two-year total of $35 million in affordability grants.

“We are honoring our promise of access to an affordable education — not at the expense of our academic and research excellence, but by operating a more efficient and innovative university,” he said.

Journalists prepare for broadcasting Thursday afternoon after the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas.
Credit: Nick Roll | Former Campus Editor

Drake responds to SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action

June 25, 2016

The Supreme Court solidified the use of affirmative action in the University of Texas’s admission process on Thursday, prompting praise from Ohio State University President Michael Drake.

“For four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that diversity is a vital part of the higher education experience and a legitimate pursuit for colleges and universities,” Drake said in a statement.

The case, prompting its second ruling from the Supreme Court, centered around white student Abigail Fisher, who sued after being denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin based on her race. The university guarantees admission to those in the top of their class before opening up to general enrollment — which considers race, among other factors — for other applicants. Fisher was not in the top of her class.

While the 4-3 ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas on the university’s use of race-conscious admissions standards wasn’t a blanket endorsement of all affirmative action programs, it was seen as a victory by many higher education administrators.

“In our university labs and classrooms, diversity sparks innovation, strengthens cultural understanding, amplifies creative work, broadens scholarly benefits to society and produces more competent workers and thinkers,” Drake’s statement read.

Drake discusses communication, traditions in editorial board meeting

Sept. 13, 2016

When University President Michael Drake sat down with The Lantern on Monday afternoon, his main message was one of communication. In addition, he looked to the future of traditions and diversity at Ohio State.

Communication during student protest

In April, student protesters staged a sit-in at Bricker Hall, where President Drake’s office is located. The coalition of student organizations involved included Real Food OSU, United Students Against Sweatshops, Still We Rise, OSU Coalition for Black Lives and the Committee for Justice in Palestine. One of the coalition’s main causes was transparency between students and the administration.

Drake calls for the rebuilding ‘of inclusion and support’ after election

Nov. 9, 2016

In the wake of a contentious U.S. presidential election that stretched until about 2:30 a.m. before being declared for Republican Donald Trump, University President Michael Drake called for reconciliation in a statement issued Wednesday night.

“This highly contested election has left many in our community bruised and very uncertain,” Drake said. “It is incumbent upon us all to rebuild the sense of inclusion and support that has been key to the vibrant and engaged experience that is Ohio State.”

In a shock to many pollsters, pundits and members of the media, Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in what many expected to be a blowout to end a contentious and volatile race. Drake urged community members to embrace a positive outlook, regardless of which candidate they voted for.

“I am reminded that when approaching seasons of time and change, it is important to consider and focus on our values — particularly respect, integrity and compassion,” he said. “As a university, we exist to create knowledge, explore ideas and welcome diverse opinions in an atmosphere that is open, collegial and safe for each of us.”

Dec. 5, 2016Open-carrying protesters walk through campus to campaign for gun rights

One week after an attack which left 11 people in the hospital and the attacker shot dead, a group of protesters came to Ohio State, quietly walking through campus with guns strapped across their chests.

The protesters were in favor of Ohio House Bill 48, pending legislation which could allow for concealed carry on public college campuses in Ohio, among other places where concealed carry is currently restricted. The bill wouldn’t allow concealed carry outright, but would allow colleges to opt in. University President Michael Drake recently spoke out against the bill during a segment on WOSU.

The timing of protest, referred to as “a walk,” just after the attack, was intentional, said Jeffry Smith, the organizer.

“The purpose of these walks, in general, is to advocate for conceal and carry … legal conceal carrying in Ohio,” he said. “Secondarily, to engage in dialogue with people about firearms rights and privileges.”

Merrill Kaplan, a professor in the English and Germanic departments discusses gun rights with openly carrying protesters on campus on Dec. 5, 2016.
Credit: Nick Roll | Former Campus Editor

Students and faculty gather in University President Drake’s office on Dec. 7, 2016.
Credit: Nick Roll | Former Campus Editor

Open letters about the open-carry protest sent to President Drake and university administration:

“The OSU administration still thinks it is appropriate to 1) allow these large guns on campus in broad daylight and 2) not warn the OSU community at large that they would be right outside academic buildings. Moreover, the administration allowed this to occur just a week after members of this community thought a shooter was attacking the campus. At best, the message that OSU is sending about the use of guns on campus is confusing.” Read more...

“What should I tell students and peers of color, LGBT, immigrants and refugees, students of so many religions and beliefs and backgrounds, when they are victims of hate crimes on campus? Do I tell them, ‘Don’t worry, there are white people with guns everywhere?'” Read more…

“During your administration, I have seen far more active police presence for small groups of unarmed, non-violent protestors calling for racial justice than for these 15 heavily armed men.” Read more…

Drake says energy privatization won’t happen unless standards are met

March 10, 2017

University President Michael Drake appeared on WOSU’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher” on Thursday, March 8. While on-air, he discussed the university’s push for energy privatization, allegations of research fraud placed against OSU researcher Carlo Croce, the trademarking of The Oval and the potential effects the newest travel ban could have on students.

OSU is in the process of narrowing down applicants working for a deal with the university to control the heating and cooling of class buildings for 50 years. Addressing those skeptical of the length of the deal, and loss of transparency once a private partner takes the reigns, Drake said that the privatization is necessary to reduce the campus’s carbon emissions and energy footprint.

“We need to have a partner we can work with to help us do a better job of that over time so a big part of this plan, a big part of what we will be evaluating over the next couple of months is whether or not working with a partner will help us achieve our sustainability goals,” he said. “That’s a very important part of this. We would want to achieve our sustainability goals, period.”

President Drake signs letter urging Congress to permanently protect DACA recipients

Oct. 20, 2017

Ohio State University President Michael Drake joined nearly 800 other university presidents Thursday in signing a letter to Congress urging it to take action and permanently protect students enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The letter was addressed to the majority and minority leaders in both the House and Senate and called on legislators to “take the action that President [Donald] Trump requested when he rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.”

DACA is an Obama era policy which protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children with their parents from deportation.
“Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends,” the letter said. “Despite the challenges they face, they have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security. They should continue to be able to do so.”

President Drake and Urban Meyer

President Michael Drake, Athletic Director Gene Smith and head football coach Urban Meyer field questions at a press conference on Aug. 22, 2018.
Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Former Managing Editor for Multimedia

Football: Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer suspended three games

Aug. 22, 2018

Head football coach Urban Meyer will be suspended through Sept. 2 and for the first three games of the season without pay, Ohio State University announced Wednesday.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith will be suspended without pay through Sept. 16.

A two-week investigation found that Meyer and Smith “failed to adhere to the precise requirements of their contracts when they concluded that they needed to await a law enforcement determination to file charges before they reported the otherwise disputed claims of spousal abuse against [former assistant coach] Zach Smith.”

Football: Urban Meyer to announce retirement as Ohio State head coach

Dec. 4, 2018

When Urban Meyer, an Ohio native, took the head coaching job at Ohio State prior to the 2012 season, he knew what he had to do.

“We’re going to make the great state of Ohio proud in everything we do,” Meyer said in his opening press conference.

Six years, two Big Ten championships, two College Football Playoff berths and one national championship later, Meyer seemed to keep the promise on the football field. And after earning his second straight Big Ten title and his first Rose Bowl appearance in his 27 years in coaching, Meyer announced his tenure at Ohio State would be over.

President Michael Drake sat down with with members of The Lantern for his semesterly interview on March 5, 2019.
Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Former Photo Editor

President Drake addresses alleged off-campus druggings

March 6, 2019

Faced with multiple reports of druggings at off-campus bars and parties, Ohio State President Michael Drake said Tuesday the university is working with the proper authorities regarding potential off-campus crimes.

During an interview with The Lantern, Drake said anything that happens off campus is outside the university’s jurisdiction and has to be handled in separate investigations.

“Sometimes they are criminal matters or conduct matters, and we do our best to investigate those when we have complaints and come to an equitable decision,” Drake said. “But what happens and the outcome of those investigations can be an incredible range of what’s possible in the investigation, so we have to wait until we have those to know what [Ohio State’s] proper role is.”

President Drake gives update to new Title IX office

March 6, 2019

Ohio State University President Michael Drake gave more insight into the new Title IX office, the Office of Institutional Equity, in an interview with The Lantern on Tuesday. Drake highlighted how he expects the office to be structured and the status of the search for its leader.

Drake said the OIE is supposed to be a single location where students, faculty and staff have a place to get advice and guidance on an issue of concern, and can then be directed to the appropriate resources.

“I’d like ultimately for us to have a clear place where you can go and then learn about the options you have available and to take advantage of those in the way that you wish,” Drake said.

Drake expects Strauss investigation to conclude in ‘six to eight weeks’

March 6, 2019

While there is no official timeline set for the investigation into sexual abuse allegations by former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss, University President Michael Drake told The Lantern he expects the investigation to end in “six to eight weeks.”

Drake added that while counseling, which the university offered to Strauss victims in February, is the first step in supporting the victims, the university will make most of its decisions on services to offer following the investigation.

“We’ll wait until we see what the investigation holds before we can move too much beyond that,” Drake said on Tuesday. “We’ll continue talking and thinking, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because the reason for the investigation is to help us to learn what happened.”

Protesters arrived at Bricker Hall around 3 p.m and demanded that the university cut its contract with Wendy’s until the fast food giant joins the Fair Food Program.
Credit: Jasmine Hilton | Managing Editor for Content

Students stage sit-in at President Drake’s office

March 7, 2019

Officers from the Ohio State University Police Department were called to Bricker Hall after members from the Student/Farmworker Alliance staged with a sit-in inside at University President Michael Drake’s office.

The protesters arrived at Bricker Hall around 3 p.m and demanded that the university cut its contract with Wendy’s until the fast food giant joins the Fair Food Program.

The FFP is a partnership among farmers, farmworkers and retail food companies to ensure humane wages and working conditions for workers on participating farms. The program has been joined by restaurants like McDonalds and Chipotle, but Wendy’s has declined to do so.

University President Michael V. Drake during an interview with The Lantern Sept. 9, 2019.
Credit: Amal Saeed | Former Photo Editor

University President Michael V. Drake announces retirement

Nov. 21, 2019

University President Michael V. Drake will retire from his current role in 2020, according to an Ohio State press release. After nearly six years at the head of the university, Drake said he will step down to fill a faculty position.

Drake, who has served as president since June 2014, said in the release that the timing of the position change “is right for Ohio State and his family.”

“Ohio State is a very special place. Brenda and I are blessed to be part of the incredible Buckeye community,” Drake said in the release. “The work being done at this university through teaching, learning, research, creative expression, community engagement and leading-edge partnerships is unprecedented in our 150-year history.”

President Drake declares university state of emergency

March 22, 2020

Ohio State declared a university state of emergency following Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s enactment of a formal stay at home order Sunday.

The state of emergency was issued to formalize adjustments that the university has already made in response to COVID-19, such as an extension of the tenure clock, University President Michael V. Drake wrote in a universitywide email. The declaration allows leaders at Ohio State to use Disaster Leave (Policy 6.28) and gives the university “flexibility in making a variety of financial decisions over an extended period if necessary,” the email said.

The declaration will be revisited on a weekly basis, according to the email.

President Drake says on-campus transition could begin in coming weeks

April 23, 2020

A shift toward normalcy for Ohio State could be on the horizon, but expect it to be gradual.

Ohio State could begin transitioning faculty and staff back on campus in the next few weeks with a decision about fall semester made by the end of June, University President Michael V. Drake said in an interview with The Lantern Thursday.

“Given the current models, and a favorable month of May and a good and safe and smooth return in later May and June to July, by the end of June, we would be able to say, ‘Gee, here’s what our fall looks like,’ and that can be good or not so good depending on what those things look like,” Drake said.

President Michael V. Drake held a press conference at Bricker Hall March 10 about the university’s decision to suspend face-to-face instruction until at least March 30.
Credit: Jack Long | Managing Editor for Digital Content

Institute for Teaching and Learning renamed after President Drake

June 3, 2020

The Institute for Teaching and Learning will be renamed in honor of outgoing University President Michael V. Drake.

The Board of Trustees approved the name change to the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning Wednesday during a virtual meeting.

The institute — originally established in 2016 to “integrate and enhance teaching and learning efforts at Ohio State,” according to the university website — has proved useful in the university’s transition to online courses, Bruce McPherson, executive vice president and provost, said.

Drake will be succeeded by Kristina M. Johnson beginning Sept. 1. Provost Bruce McPheron and Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Heminger will take over the office’s responsibilities in the interim period.

Text: Max Garrison | Asst. Campus Editor

Web Design: Jack Long | Managing Editor for Digital Content