Refreshing: Ohio State’s President Says Protestor Arrests Were Necessary for Campus Safety

Ohio State University (OSU) president Walter “Ted” Carter, Jr., issued a refreshing statement on Monday to “set the record straight regarding the events” that took place on the main campus’ South Oval on April 25 when Carter had around three dozen pro-Hamas protestors arrested and removed hundreds more from the Columbus campus.

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Carter, a no-nonsense decorated combat veteran who served our nation for 38 years, underscored his commitment to “support and defend” the First Amendment rights of the OSU community. “I value and welcome free speech,” he said in an email to OSU’s students, faculty, and staff. 

“I wanted you to hear directly from me that Thursday’s actions were not about the content of anyone’s speech,” he said. “They do not mean we are limiting individuals’ right to gather and demonstrate.” 

Instead, Carter expertly walked the line between the protestors’ rights and his duty to provide a safe campus. Wanting to avoid the unrest and public safety issues that have recently plagued other U.S. campuses, Carter said the protestor “encampments” were “an intentional violation of university space rules that exist so that teaching, learning, research, service, and patient care can occur on our campuses without interruption.”

OSU is one of the nation’s largest public universities in terms of enrollment numbers and campus size. But even so, the “encampments” drain public safety resources and disrupt normal campus life. The 24/7 activities of protestors disturbed residence halls, study spaces during Finals Week, exam spaces, and research and commerce spaces.

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Despite many “warnings and clear information about the rules” given throughout the week, hundreds of students and others from outside the university descended on the campus to set up so-called “encampments” and other protest activities. Carter said the university and the Ohio State University Police Division “consistently informed” the protestors that “encampments are not allowed on campus regardless of the reason for them.” Late Thursday evening, “law enforcement began the process of arresting and charging individuals with criminal trespass for knowingly violating university policy and police orders.”

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Isn’t that refreshing? A university president who didn’t cave to or negotiate with the leftist mob. Carter stated the campus rules, gave protestors many chances to do the right thing, and then followed through on his promises. And unlike other leftist college and university presidents of late, Carter said Ohio State will continue to uniformly enforce its campus safety rules and take “actions that support the safety and security of our community as a whole.” 

“Arrests are not an action that I or any member of the administration take lightly,” Carter’s email read. “I have stated since the first day I was announced as president that safety will not be compromised.”

According to CNN, over the past few weeks, hundreds of pro-Hamas students and outside protestors have been arrested, suspended, put on probation, or expelled from U.S. colleges including Arizona State; Brown University; Columbia University; the University of Southern California; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the University of Pennsylvania; Emerson College; Johns Hopkins University; California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt; Indiana University; New York University; Northeastern University; Portland State University; Vanderbilt University; Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Tech; the University of Florida, Gainesville; the University of Minnesota; University of Texas-Austin; Yale University.

In addition, protestors occupied campus buildings, leading Columbia University to cancel the remainder of its in-person classes. USC also canceled its graduation ceremonies — an especially egregious development given that this senior class includes the same students who had their high school graduations canceled due to the draconian COVID-19 shutdowns during the pandemic.

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“These situations have caused in-person learning and commencement ceremonies to be canceled” on other campuses, stated Carter. “Ohio State’s campus will not be overtaken in this manner.” Well done choosing sanity over insanity, President Carter.

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