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Culture Beat / Apr. 15, 2016

Ohio State Disbands Protest By Treating Students Like Adults

OSU let the protesters face the consequences for their actions.

A few months ago, protesters disrupted the University of Missouri. Caving into their demands, the university lost its president and enrollment dipped. Students attempted something similar at (The™) Ohio State University last week, listing demands such as complete access to the university’s budget and that OSU divest itself from investments in Hewlett Packard because, the protesters claimed, the company was involved in human rights abuses. To call attention to these demands, 80 to 150 students occupied the main administration building.

This is when Ohio State Vice President Jay Kasey paid them a visit. In a video of the exchange, Kasey said the OSU president would not negotiate with the students. “If you refuse to leave,” Kasey warned, “then you will be charged with a student code of conduct violation. … If you are here at 5:00 a.m. we will clear the building and you will be arrested. We will give you the opportunity to go to jail for your beliefs.”

Violating the student code of conduct by occupying a building is an act of civil disobedience. The University simply let the protesters face the consequences for their actions. It’s an ethical decision that every protester has to answer. Youthful idealism, meet hard reality. The students didn’t want to go to jail over their demands, and so the last of them left the building 30 minutes after midnight. At least OSU didn’t show the group what socialism looks like and start to redistributing grades. Imagine how the students would have liked that.

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