Arrests at OSU Graduation

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Jun 11 15:06:26 MDT 2000

Hi Chris:

>The problem for the guests at Ohio State University was they were a
>small minority

Yes -- perhaps only about 50 graduating seniors walked out, while
about another 30 held up red placards ("Struggle, Not Surrender,"
"Watts -- Act Affirmatively," "Watts' 'Diversity'?" "OSU Powered by
Two Watts [references to J.C. Watts & Eugene Watts]," etc.),
protesting against J.C. Watts as well as OSU Administration, and
silently marched in the aisles during the commencement speech.  The
total number of graduating students was 5,400.

>and I believe another problem was that they are

Protesters were mainly African-American, feminist, and/or GLBT
students, all of whom were also prominent in strike support during
the recent strike by CWA Local 4501 (a union of about 2,000 service &
skilled-trade OSU employees, about two thirds of whom are
African-American).  Oona Besman, the graduating M.A. student (in
women's studies) whose family & friends got arrested, is a lesbian.
Her partner Tamara who got arrested is Asian-American.  At the OSU
campus police station, some of us overheard Tamara being referred to
as "the slit-eyed one" by one of the cops.

During the strike, the only person arrested was Andre Banks, an
African-American student.

>Their arrests are a disciplinary gesture by the
>establishment, but it should backfire if this gets enough attention.
>People in the US should protest this repression.  The speaker was a
>right-wing token prick.  It takes guts to stand up against such
>hand-picked shills of the ruling order.

It's interesting that the OSU administration didn't even make any
conciliatory gesture & attempt at cooptation by picking, for
instance, Mayor Michael Coleman or NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (both
made public gestures of solidarity with Local 4501 during the strike)
as commencement speaker.

The university officials to whom letters/phone calls/etc. of protests
should be directed are as follows:

President William Kirwan:

Email addresses: Kirwan.1 at
2416 Commonwealth Pa
Columbus, Oh 43209
(614) 292-0433
Office Of The President:
205 Bricker Hall
190 N Oval Mall
Columbus, Oh 43210
(614) 292-2424

Provost Ed Ray:

Email addresses: Ray.1 at
1977 Rosebery Dr
Columbus, Oh 43220
(614) 457-6399
Office of Academic Affairs Admin:
203 Bricker Hall
190 N Oval Mall
Columbus, Oh 43210
(614) 292-5881

OSU Police Chief Ron Michalec:

Email addresses: Michalec.1 at
University Police
128 Blankenship Hall
901 Woody Hayes Driv
Columbus, Oh 43210
(614) 292-2121


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