Ohio University is three weeks into its “Phase 2” plan, and things are going about as well as expected.
Three residence halls, Boyd, Jefferson and Tiffin, have been evacuated due to clusters of students testing positive for COVID-19. On top of all this, the student housing contract, which students were essentially forced to sign, reminds those in residence halls that breaking quarantine can result in criminal charges.
This law itself is a ridiculous overreach, but the fact it’s in the housing contract is yet another reminder that OU’s plan for return was greedy and incompetent, but above all else, it’s a reminder OU doesn’t care about students.
If the contract was drawn up with the quarantining of entire dorms in mind, why did the school bring anyone back at all? Because they knew this would happen, this plan was willfully-ignorant from the start. Thankfully for them, our tuition checks have already been cashed.
Many of the students brought back to live in the residence halls are living away from home for their first time ever. Anyone who’s been through this knows it’s scary, confusing and stressful. The only real elevation from this stressful experience is meeting people and learning how to live on your own. These freshmen aren’t getting that opportunity.
If you’re an upperclassman still partying, interacting with strangers and frequenting crowded bars, this is not a defense of you. However, first-year college students are kids; anyone who’s been a freshman in college knows this is exactly how these 18 year olds would act. Every COVID-19 case that stems from a first-year student is entirely on the university's hands.
For the vast majority of first-year students, there was zero need to bring them back. They could have finished this semester online, dealing with the hell of online class in a familiar environment. Instead, with the retention rate in mind, our brilliant administration brought back some first-year students for Phase 2, along with everyone else.
Now that COVID-19 has unsurprisingly spread, students are locked in their rooms for two weeks and sent soulless automated texts and reminded that they will be criminally charged if they want to see the sun during a bought of depression.
The message OU is sending is, “We care about your mental health, but remember, if you leave your dorm at all you can legally be dragged into court.”
The university can create any disingenuous PR plan or impactless show of concern it wants, but it should not escape the blame for this.
Ohio University has mismanaged finances, the quality of education and now it’s mismanaging the safety of human lives.
Noah Wright is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Noah? Tweet him @NoahCampaign.