On Monday, hundreds of eager and passionate students, faculty and alumni took to College Green to make their voices heard. Many people spoke, but one message reverberated throughout: we’ve come to take back Ohio University.
The rally began in earnest at the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War monument, where a plethora of speakers expressed their grievances with the university. The group then proceeded to march across College Green toward Cutler Hall, hoping to confront OU President Duane Nellis directly.
What unfolded next was a display of utter cowardice and apathy toward the concerns of hundreds of students and faculty. The saddest part of all was that it could have been a shining moment for OU’s administration and its leader, Duane Nellis.
First, the ralliers discovered the doors of Cutler Hall were locked, which they are usually not. Then, as the crowd chanted for Nellis to come out, their calls were answered by Eric Burchard, Director of Government Relations.
Burchard chatted with the event organizers for several minutes, asking if they had made an “appointment” with the president, which they had not. The rally, conversely, would have served as the perfect forum for Nellis to address hundreds of people at once.
The dialogue between Burchard and the student leaders went nowhere, prompting him to go back into Cutler Hall, where the door was closed in the face of hundreds of individuals.
While the problem and conflict seemingly sprung up out of nowhere, it is the result of years of poor leadership and administrative judgment.
At a recent forum, Associate Professor of Political Science Jim Mosher described the situation best as a “budget crisis.”
Ohio University has seen a drastic increase in administrative hirings over the past decade, up over 90% since 2011. On the other hand, faculty hirings increased by only 9% in that same period. The increase in staffing is questionable, considering it’s not exactly a well-kept secret university enrollment is declining, both nationally and at OU.
The administration's mismanagement is particularly egregious. They saw it coming and did nothing. And to top it off, they are cutting educational services to solve the problem, instead of rectifying the bureaucratic mess the administration created.
The students are the stakeholders here, President Nellis. We don’t appreciate you posturing behind a sophisticated bureaucratic public relations team. We want to talk about and solve this problem. We want to learn and get a degree, but instead, it seems your administration is preoccupied with pointing fingers elsewhere rather than taking a hard look in the mirror.
Matthew Geiger is a freshman studying economics at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Matthew? Tweet him @Mattg444.
Correction: A previous version of this report misstated the day the protest took place. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.