Students at Ohio State University who attempted to occupy the area outside of president Michael V. Drake’s office late Wednesday night experienced a surprise — and a taste of the cruel, real world — when a senior administrator coolly advised them that they would be arrested and expelled if they didn’t retreat from their “occupied space.”
The protest began — as such protests often do these days — with a set of demands and the promise to remain firmly ensconced at Bricker Hall, Ohio State’s main administration building, until school officials capitulated to the demands.
The occupiers’ motley list of #ReclaimOSU demands includes “complete, comprehensive and detailed access to the Ohio State budget and investments immediately,” divestment from Caterpillar Inc. and Hewlett Packard because of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and increased purchases of organic, locally-grown food.
At around 3:30 p.m., about 100 students representing #ReclaimOSU and other campus groups (including OSU Coalition for Black Lives) set up an “open mic” protest near Drake’s second-floor office inside Bricker Hall, reports The Columbus Dispatch. (A few faculty members also reportedly turned up.)
The assorted campus dissidents complained for several hours that no one listens to their complaints. They also claimed — in public, outside the president’s office — that Ohio State wants to silence them.
Though most of the protesters skipped out of the event by around dinner time, a hardcore group of about two dozen demonstrators stayed until after midnight. They sang. They chanted.
Eventually, Ohio State senior vice president for administration Jay Kasey appeared to inform the radicals that the time had come to decamp from the taxpayer-funded building.
Protesters asked what Kasey would happen if they chose to stay.
“Our police officers will physically pick you up and take you to a paddy wagon, and take you to be arrested,” he explained.
“If you are here at five o’clock, our current philosophy is we are going to take you out — escort you out of the building and arrest you. You will be discharged from school also.”
Kasey then confirmed to a demonstrator’s query that “discharged” means expelled.
“I want you to make good decisions. You’re smart kids,” he said.
“We simply tell you the truth and you live with your actions.”
School officials concluded that they had the authority to order the protesters to leave — and to arrest and expel them if necessary — because their presence was disruptive and was not authorized.