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Grant Stover

Nurturing OUr Nature: Board approves gas line, neglects student concerns

Grant Stover addresses environmental concerns of gas pipeline

The Ohio University Board of Trustees had a great opportunity Friday to show students that their opinions and concerns truly matter. Many students appeared at the meeting on Friday to make sure that their voices were heard, but the Trustees didn’t bat an eye.

It had to be an incredible sight to see trustees and students working together to make our campus and the world at large a better place. Three students were arrested on Thursday after a peaceful protest ended and the crowd scattered, and three more were arrested for speaking up at the Board of Trustees meeting the following day. After the second round of arrests, tuition was raised, the funding of the Survivor Advocacy Program was ignored (in light of multiple sexual assault cases on campus recently), and a gas line was approved to help power the campus (after a gas plant was fought around this time last year).

It brings tears to my eyes to know that I attend a university where student concerns are so undervalued; that at Ohio University, if you dare speak up in a room of full of trustees, they will walk out on you and wait until the police have escorted you out so that they can vote on the issues that affect you. They must know what is truly best for everyone.

The gas line that was voted on has not received much attention in the past few days or the past year. Maybe it because the construction of a gas plant last year was so heavily opposed. The budget for this project was raised by half a million dollars, according to an article from Compass. Is it a coincidence that tuition increased the same day? Who exactly is making the decisions about this pipeline? Is the pipeline the right choice for Ohio University’s future? The Board of Trustees thinks it is. Can the pipeline be advertised next to the Climate Action Plan where the goal is to be carbon neutral by 2075? The approval of the CAP and the pipeline don’t go hand-in-hand and it doesn’t leave anyone accountable except for future generations. 

The students are getting louder, but the university isn’t listening. Rather, they’re actively shutting down those who speak out. As Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers so eloquently put it, "They're just not allowed to disrupt the meeting. Holding up signs was fine."

To me, the biggest win from this whole mess is that students are finally being heard and those in positions of power are pushing back. Change is slow, whether coming from within or by an outside force, but that change is happening and students are leading the way.

Grant Stover is a sophomore studying English, a member of the Environmental Committee on Student Senate and a member of the Sierra Coalition at Ohio University. Email him at or find him on Twitter at @grant_stover.

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