Anti-fossil fuel activists occupying an Ohio State University administrative building were in for a rude awakening Wednesday night when the school’s vice president told them he was going to give them “an opportunity to go to jail for your beliefs.”
Administrators said that more than 80 demonstrators showed up outside the president’s office at around 3 pm and quickly racked up three violations of the student code of conduct, including a failure to comply with university or civil authority, as well as engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct.
“We demand complete, comprehensive and detailed access to the Ohio State budget and investments immediately,” the students said in a Wednesday press statement, “as well as personnel to aid students in understanding this information.”
OSU Vice President Jay Kasey was clearly not in the mood to take any guff, least of all from students who would rather make demands than engage in constructive dialogue.
“Dr. Drake will never receive a list of demands and he will not negotiate with you,” Kasey said, his voice measured and calm. He went on to issue a set of his own demands.
The entire incident was caught on video and subsequently posted on YouTube.
“If you refuse to leave, then you will be charged with a student code of conduct violation,” he said. “If you are here at 5:00 a.m. we will clear the building and you will be arrested.”
Kasey’s final warning landed like a lighting bolt: “We will give you the opportunity to go to jail for your beliefs.”
One of the protesters, perhaps realizing the gravity of the situation, reacted in shock, asking the vice president what he meant by “clear the building.”
Again, in a measured voice, Kasey responded. “Our police officers will physically pick you up and take you to a paddywagon. The people who work in this building should be protected also.”
“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 said, referring to his initial timetable for the students’ departure.
Several students demanded the university purge its oil and coal assets while occupying a space just outside of OSU President Michael Drake’s office. The occupation included an “open mic” event allowing the protesters to sound off on various grievances they have concerning the school’s assets.
The hordes of divestment campaigners claimed the school has shut them out and is not responding to their divestment demands. School officials are brushing off such talk, telling reporters the administrators have talked and responded to protesters, but they don’t want to listen.
The OSU occupation comes on the heels of similar events at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard University earlier this week.
UMass police arrested 15 anti-fossil fuel activists during Tuesday demonstrations meant to pressure the University into purging its oil assets, a media spokeswoman with university police confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Authorities in Boston apprehended four members of a fossil free group for occupying a lobby in the Boston Federal Reserve Tuesday afternoon. They were protesting Harvard Management Company’s investment in the fossil fuel industry.
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