OU grad students demand renaming of Roger E. Ailes Newsroom

Emily Larsen
Program Manager

  • Ohio University’s Graduate Student Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to call for the removal of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes’ name from the campus newsroom.
  • The vote comes in response to numerous allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes, though it is unclear whether the university would legally be allowed to change the name without refunding a $500,000 donation from Ailes.
  • Ohio University’s Graduate Student Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to call for the removal of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes’ name from the campus newsroom.

    The vote comes in response to numerous allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes, who left Fox in July with a $40 million resignation agreement. Fox subsequently reached a $20 million settlement this week with former host Gretchen Carlson over her sexual harassment claims against Ailes.

    “The university is carefully monitoring the situation...but will not make public comments on the issue at this time.”   

    The Roger E. Ailes Newsroom was dedicated after Ailes, an OU alumnus, donated $500,000 to Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communications in 2007. Ohio University also offers a scholarship named after Ailes.

    Democratic state representative candidate Sarah Grace, also an OU alumnus, attended the Senate meeting and voiced her support for the measure, according The Post Athens, Ohio University’s student-run newspaper.

    “I’m furious that so many women have been victimized just in their efforts of trying to work in this predatory environment,” she lamented, adding, “It saddens me that my university, my alma mater, the school I love has any part in that history.”

    The student-run WUOB-TV station and radio station both operate out of the newsroom, but apparently neither outfit apparently goes out of its way to acknowledge Ailes as a benefactor.

    WUOB general manager Mark Brewer told The Washington Post that the official name of the newsroom is “never, never” mentioned on air or in promotional materials, clarifying that it is only designated by a hallway plaque, in keeping with the minimum requirements under OU’s naming conventions.

    According to The New Political, some GSS members expressed reservations, asking whether the university is legally required to keep Ailes’ name on the newsroom as a condition of receiving the donation, but allowed the resolution to move forward without debate after the executive board clarified that the only direct effect of the legislation would be an official denunciation of Ailes, and that the newsroom would not be renamed unless the university agreed to the idea.

    The OU administration, for its part, has been noncommittal about the future of its relationship with Ailes, telling The Daily Beast in August that “the university would not take a position until the matter is resolved” in reference to pressure for OU to drop the Roger Ailes scholarship.

    OU gave a similarly ambiguous response to the newsroom resolution, telling The Washington Post only that “the university is carefully monitoring the situation, including the perspectives of multiple stakeholders in our community, but will not make public comments on the issue at this time.”

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    Emily Larsen

    Emily Larsen

    Program Manager

    Emily Larsen is Campus Reform's Program Manager. She manages, recruits, and trains Campus Correspondents. Previously, she worked for the Leadership Institute as a Regional Field Coordinator.

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