Ohio State Shuts Down Student Occupation after Arrests, Expulsion Threatened

A student sit-in at Ohio State University was shut down last week when a senior administrator informed the participants that they would be arrested and expelled if they didn’t retreat from their “occupied space” in the area outside of President Michael V. Drake's second-floor office.

The incident happened at Bricker Hall, Ohio State’s main administration building, which the students planned to occupy until school officials capitulated to a set of "demands." According to the Columbus Dispatch, the site became an "open mic" situation for about eight hours last Wednesday night, with dozens of students, faculty, and several advocacy groups participating.

They complained that university officials don't listen to them and have silenced them; officials say they have talked many times with the leaders of the groups, and that the protesters just don't like the answer.

University officials say the occupation began with about 80 people at around 3:30 p.m.; a statement from one of the organizers said it was about 150.

Their list of demands included:

We demand complete, comprehensive and detailed access to the Ohio State budget and investments immediately, as well as personnel to aid students in understanding this information.

OSU Divest: Divest from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett Packard and G4S due to their involvement in well-documented human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and across the globe. . .

Real Food OSU: Sign the Real Food Campus Commitment. Ensure the administration work with Real Food OSU through the entire implementation of the Real Food Campus Commitment, in place of, or as a means of attaining, the university sustainability goal of increased “production and purchase of locally and sustainably sourced food to 40% by 2025.”

Ohio State Vice President Jay Kasey paid the protesters a visit shortly after the occupation began, with a message from the president.

"Dr. Drake will never receive a list of demands and he will not negotiate with you," Kasey calmly informed the group before moving on to the next part of his conversation, which included the university's own list of demands.