This is not my Ohio University.
My OU is Athens.
It is crazed playwriting students running into the black box theater at 10:55 p.m. for Midnight Madness.
It is hearing Richard Rodriguez read from his work Hunger of Memory at the the Spring Literary Festival in 2012.
And it’s sitting in a conference room in Baker Center three years later as Dorothy Allison told a group of English undergrads about her process writing her most recent memoir and how to use trauma to inform our writing.
My OU is hours turning to weeks and months and years sitting with professors talking through the concepts and theory that altered the trajectory of my life. In the Front Room Coffee House with Dr. Marciniak, the first time I saw Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs. In Alden Library, completing Dr. Kim Little’s online “Issues in WGSS” analyzing contemporary television during which I first saw Chyna fight. In Bentley Hall, Dr. Patricia Stokes perched on the table in front, facilitating a discussion about the policing of women’s bodies in Amsterdam or in Dr. Akil Houston’s class, studying the history of exploitation of black bodies in American cinema and understanding, for the first time, the importance of my voice of privilege against systems of oppression.
My OU queered me and saved me from the misogyny and patriarchy that had controlled my bodily existence for 18 years. My OU taught me to understand perspectives beyond my own.
My OU is a lined yellow Post-It note. On it, film recommendations from Dr. Houston, still in my desk drawer five years later.
My OU is the Ridges, the Kennedy Art Museum, of feeling renewed from a walk in the woods. Of each time feeling like I found something new.
My OU is working at the Voinovich School, of meeting people fighting for social change in Athens and beyond — from renewing the Wayne National Forest to using mine pollution to create paint.
My OU is people finding each other, and, through that community, finding in themselves the strength to yell above the din.
My OU is a sanctuary, a home, a place to come back to. My OHIO is sitting in the shade of a tree on the green, watching freshmen slackline into the late hours of the night.
This Ohio University that dishonors the years of work and dedication put in by professors without and with tenure is not my Ohio University.
This OU that bloats administrative salaries, that prioritizes athletic achievements over academic prowess is not mine.
This OU that lays off anyone in the midst of a global pandemic is not my OU.
Hannah Ticoras is a co-founder of myOHIOis.org, a place for alumni, professors and community members affected by the recent layoffs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website for more info. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post.