A lot has changed in a year — but the rules about protesting in university buildings are as foggy as they were a year ago when the Ohio University Police Department arrested 70 students who were peacefully protesting in Baker Center and demanding that OU become a sanctuary campus.

Then the charges were dropped for all 70 students on March 29. The effects of that protest are still being seen on campus a year later, and it’s time to have an open conversation about that. 

Looking back on that night, it’s still just as important for students to have a right to protest as it was then. Students should have the right to speak out, especially when they feel their voices aren’t being heard. Protesting has been a constant at this university for years and should be allowed to continue. It’s crucial that any limitations on such activities be clearly outlined and discussed by all levels of people. It’s something we’ve written about this year, and it’s something we continue to believe.

Right now, the meetings to determine what changes should be made to the “Freedom of Expression” policy are all held behind closed doors. That’s unacceptable. At a university that prides itself as “the best student-centered learning experience in America” and has such a prominent history of campus activism, students should have the right to attend those meetings and add their input because at the end of the day, it affects them most.

A “Freedom of Expression” policy is not complete without adequate conversation from all sides about the pros and cons to limiting free speech on campus. The potential disruption or slowing of the process that university officials have cited as reasons to keep the public from attending meetings are not justified for keeping them closed.

Looking back on what all has happened over the past year allows everyone a chance to reflect on the state of protesting on campus. It is imperative that university officials use this time to talk to students, to understand what they want and to make sure they continue to allow demonstrations on campus. Otherwise, we’re right back where we were a year ago.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: editor-in-chief Elizabeth Backo, managing editor Kaitlin Coward, digital managing editor Hayley Harding and senior editor Marisa Fernandez. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

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