COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–A group of students at The Ohio State University staged a sit-in and protest Wednesday night inside of Bricker Hall.
OSU Police stood guard at each door of the building that houses President Michael Drake’s office. The students, who represent close to a dozen on-campus organizations, demanded that university leadership address their concerns on issues such as diversity, sexual assault, and the university’s budget.
They said they want university leadership to foster an environment that reflects the needs and concerns of students, and have released a list of demands.
Students had planned to stay inside the building all night. Those plans were cut short around midnight, when protesters said they were forced to leave under threat of arrest and expulsion.
In a video provided by one of the protesters, Ohio State Senior Vice President Jay Kasey told the demonstrators they had one last chance to clear the room.
Someone is heard asking, “what do you mean by clear the room?”
Kasey replies, “our police officers will physically pick you up and take you to a paddy wagon and take you to be arrested.”
The protesters held a news conference Thursday afternoon.
A statement that the school provided to NBC4 said the group chose to disperse on their own volition and that they were not removed.
This was a group that included mostly students and also unknown people who may not be affiliated with the university, and their occupation of this building was illegal. After repeated discussions and warnings, the group chose to disperse on their own volition. They were not removed.
Ohio State has a vibrant community of students, faculty and staff who work together through an active and effective structure of shared governance. The methods employed by this group were outside the scope of permitted practices. We actively encourage dialogue with students on a wide variety of issues. We remain committed to all parties interested in meaningful discourse and in contributing to the excellence of our university. As a society and as a university we have rules that are in place to protect the very freedoms these individuals were exercising, and these protections and rights also extend to our staff as they work on the important business of the university. Bricker Hall closes every day at 5:30 p.m. We made accommodations for this group to peacefully assemble, and they were free to leave at any time. Our Ohio State community enjoys incredible privileges, and dialogue must be conducted in a constructive way.
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