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Ohio University President Roderick McDavis speaks during a Faculty Senate meeting on September 12. (FILE)

2016 Fall Semester in review

During the 2016-17 Fall Semester, students got a chance to meet political speakers from former President Bill Clinton to Milo Yiannopoulos, take part in their — for many — first election, listen to OU President Roderick McDavis give his final commencement speech as OU president and more. 

Here are just a few of the moments that happened during the first half of the academic year.

No longer the top party school

OU students began the semester by finding out that the university did not make the Princeton Review's top party school list, despite being named the top party school in the country in 2015 by Playboy

Students and faculty reacted differently to the news, from disagreement to praise. The drop in ranking could partially be attributed to McDavis, who has made an effort to change the high-risk drinking culture, OU Spokesman Dan Pittman said.

Roger Ailes' name removed from WOUB newsroom

McDavis announced at a September Faculty Senate meeting that Roger Ailes plaque would be removed from a WOUB newsroom after more than 20 women accused Ailes, the former Fox News chairman and CEO, of sexual harassment. 

Ailes, an OU alumnus, donated $500,000 to the university in 2007, in exchange for having a newsroom named after him. 

The $500,000 gift would be returned to Ailes, McDavis said. 

The decision to remove the plaque was meant with positive reactions from students and faculty, particularly within the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. 

Despite the controversy, there have not been significant building naming policy changes at OU. At least 13 university buildings or facilities are named after people who are alive. Eight of those facilities were named for individuals in return for donations, adding up to about $26 million.

'Justice 4 Tyre King' painted across campus; mural appears on graffiti wall

Students woke up one September morning to find the words "Justice 4 Tyre King" painted on university structures across campus

A Columbus Police Department Officer shot and killed Tyre King, a 13-year-old black teenager who was wanted for questioning in relation to an armed robbery. 

Police say King pulled a BB gun from his waistband before his death. A day after the painting occurred, the graffiti wall was painted over with the depiction of a hanged figure and the phrase "build the wall." It was later repainted with the phrases "#isracismatOU?," "#blacklivesmatter" and "Racism will not be tolerated."

Bill Clinton visits OU

As a campus located in a swing state, OU is no stranger to visits from politicians. Past visitors include President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

This semester, students had the opportunity to listen to former President Bill Clinton speak on College Green as he campaigned for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Clinton spoke to a crowd of about 3,500, most of whom were students. The event was briefly interrupted by local activist Prince Shakur, who criticized the former president’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. During the visit, Clinton spoke about Hillary's college plan and the Affordable Care Act.

Halloween block party

Unexpectedly warm temperatures brought out many partygoers for the annual Halloween block party this year. 

By 9 p.m., Court Street was already well packed with costume-clad students, many of whom gathered around the two stages at the opposite ends of the street. 

Chants of "Let's Go Tribe!" broke out several times as the Cleveland Indians were playing in Game 4 of the World Series. 

Most parties on Mill and Palmer streets had been shut down by about 10:30 p.m, with the crowds moving toward Court Street. It wasn't until about 2:30 a.m. that the partying came to an end as a line of mounted and foot officers prepared to "sweep" the crowd. By the end of the night, police had issued more than 150 citations.

Election results

Despite not winning Athens County, Donald Trump was still able to win the state of Ohio, as well as enough electoral votes nationally.

During Election Day, long lines were reported at Baker Center, but that did not stop students from casting their ballots. 

Steve Stivers was re-elected to the 15th District House Seat, while Rob Portman reclaimed his Ohio seat in the U.S. SenateJay Edwards was declared the winner of the Ohio House of Representatives' 94th district, and Frank Hoagland won Ohio's 30th District Senate seat.

Couple marries on steps of Athens County Courthouse after Trump victory

After Trump was declared the winner of the presidential election, Loran Marsan, a professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at OU, married Jolena Hansbarger on the steps of the Athens County Courthouse

The couple said they feared the option to marry might not be available to them under a Trump presidency. 

The ceremony was attended by friends, family, passersby and the couple's dog Marley.

Union Street Fire updates

Two years after the Union Street fire burned six businesses to the ground and caused damage to other buildings, the final building is expected to open in February

The location will contain a restaurant on the first floor and apartments in the space above. 

A clothing store opened in another previously destroyed building earlier in the semester.

According to the Ohio State Fire Marshal, the cause of the fire has not been determined, and the investigation is ongoing.

McDavis' new job

The 2016-17 academic year marked McDavis' last as OU president. 

McDavis has been selected as the new managing principal for AGB Search, a search firm focusing on higher education leadership. He will assume the position March 1, and his final day at OU will be Feb. 17. An interim president is expected to be named at the January Board of Trustees meeting. 

The finalists for OU president are expected to visit Athens in January.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was met with little opposition when he spoke in Nelson Commons in early December

Yiannopoulos blasted feminism, "limp-wristed" gender studies majors, Muslims and liberals in general. 

Instead of protests, the Multicultural Action Coalition held a counter event at the Living Learning Center.

Wayne National Forest

Despite protests and opposition, 719 acres of Wayne National Forest were auctioned off by the Bureau of Land Management to oil and gas companies. 

The sales netted more than $1 million. A petition, which has more than 99,000 signatures, was delivered to the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14.


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