Letters to the Editor Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Drop the charges, establish a sanctuary campus

70 students were arrested at a protest-turned sit-in on Feb. 1. Photo by Heather Willard
Editor’s Note: The following statement was read at the Feb. 6 Faculty Senate meeting, in which President McDavis answered students and faculty questions regarding the Baker Center arrests and the university becoming a sanctuary campus.
On Wednesday, February 1st, 70 students were arrested for peacefully protesting in Baker Student Center. These protesters were advocating for the safety and protection of non-US-citizens on this campus. Instead of acknowledging our demands or providing an official response, our university’s administration allowed the arrest of anyone who refused to disperse. This is despite the fact that we were neither obstructing movement in and of the building nor disrupting those activities going on in the building.We, as a collective of students, speak tonight with the following requests:

To the administration, especially President McDavis and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones, we call on you to recommend and take all possible action to have all charges dropped against all protesters.

To the faculty, we thank those of you that spoke out in support of our right to free speech and assembly. To the administration and faculty at large, join the hundreds of protesters from last Wednesday and the Student Senate in supporting the call to make Ohio University a sanctuary campus.

We believe that the purpose of a university education is to empower students to participate in the collective transformation of our world. To that end, we believe in mobilizing students in the fight for a radically democratic university – governed collaboratively between students, faculty and staff toward mutually beneficial outcomes. Sometimes that mobilization takes the form of a petition or panel, and other times it takes the form of a rally or sit-in, like last Wednesday’s.

If the next four years will be anything like the last few weeks, then the work we do as students to collectively organize against the discrimination and violence around us will only intensify. By failing to support our right to free speech and assembly, by refusing to send a representative to speak on behalf of the administration, and by allowing our arrest and prosecution, this administration has set a dangerous precedent of where it stands with respect to the issue at hand. It is not too late to reverse course and heal the wounds that the administration has caused. 

We call on you, all of you gathered tonight and beyond, to continue your alleged commitment toward being mentors and teachers and counselors in our path to defending our community. We call on you to support our call for a sanctuary campus. Together, we can, should, and will work to establish Ohio University as a site of resistance against discrimination and violence, even when perpetrated by our government. We stand in solidarity with all the targeted and marginalized students and community members against any and all forms of oppression.The struggle continues, and it is time to get to work and build something meaningful. Drop the charges! Establish a sanctuary campus!

 — A collective of concerned students

Letters to the editor may be submitted to [email protected] or to Editor-in-Chief Cat Hofacker at [email protected]. The New Political reserves the right to edit letters for grammar, length and clarity.

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