Nationwide Movement Behind Ohio Student Power
And whether it is a Valentine’s Day message to President Dr. Roderick McDavis, or a call to “Fight for Power” which flowed from Lindley Hall’s balcony on Martin Luther King Day, the group of students has placed another affirmative issue before Ohio University, backed by an escalating nationwide movement.
Although there is not a specific organization behind the messages and movement itself, the group of students spearheading the movement of Ohio Student Power has one overarching goal for Ohio— for students to take back control of their university.
Senior Tyler Barton said there is a need to steer away from the current trends of privatizing and corporatizing universities because education has morphed into a commodity where students are mostly seen as customers.
“There is going to a university to learn, and then there is going to consume knowledge,” he said. “Those are two different things.”
Barton said the newest step toward gaining student power back is in part because Ohio University is in need of provisions, one of which includes student debt. Graduates of OU currently graduate with the seventh highest debt in the country. And since 2000, tuition has increased 173 percent.
Another provision is the current attempt for Student Trustees to gain voting rights. On Feb. 1, Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of House Bill 377, which would grant Student Trustees of Board of Trustees direct voting rights for all state universities. If voted into law, it would prove to be a step in the correct direction toward students gaining not only a legitimate voice, but for the Student Trustees’ accountability.
However, on Feb. 10, administrators advised the Board of Trustees not to answer phone calls from STAND, a parent organization of Bobcats for a Conflict-free Campus that is in full support for the Ohio Student Power movement.
Administrative dialogue and slight resistance aside, a full-scale awareness rally and call to educational action is on the movement’s agenda. A national rally is planned for March 1 and is deemed a “Day of Action.”
The March 1 rally will take place on College Green and will precede a march around campus and end with a general assembly.
The Ohio Student Power movement is just one piece of the puzzle. Barton said there are many actions students can be taking to help take back their university, starting with simply educating and learning more about what is really happening.
“Most students don’t know how bad they’re exploited until after they graduate,” he said. “They need to also understand the power they have, not just accept it. The university doesn’t run without our money. We think we don’t have the power to overcome this— yet we have a lot.”
Although there has not yet been any reaction from administration, the movement is anticipating the future. Aside of attending open office hours, like OUSAF and STAND routinely does, expect to see more media and meet more people who want to give a face to the anonymous banners throughout campus.
“The most important part is that student pay attention to what’s happening,” said Barton. “It’s like the old metaphor of a frog in a boiling pot of water. The water is increasing, yet the frog doesn’t realize it’s happening until the water is so hot he can’t get out.Share