Thousands of students demand Ohio State cut ties with police, spend money on diversity center instead

Students at the Ohio State University are demanding that the university cut ties with local police.

They want all funds to be redirected toward diversity efforts.

The Ohio State University’s undergraduate student government sent a letter to administration demanding that OSU dismantle all connections with the Columbus Police Department and redirect any affiliated funds to diversity efforts. Thousands of students have signed the letter in agreement.

The letter, sent June 1, addresses the “injustices against the Black Community and Columbus Protestors by the Columbus Police Department.”

“Our city is burning, our students are hurting, the safety and wellbeing of the Black community is at inherent risk and there is no other time to act than now,” writes the student government. 

[RELATED: University of Minnesota to cut ties with Minneapolis Police Department, but students say it’s not enough]

The governing body then proceeds to list its demands pertaining to OSU’s plans to address “community safety in Columbus.”

The letter requests that Ohio State's Police Department “immediately cease contractual agreements with Columbus Police Department for any and all on-campus investigations, services, and events,” as well as any “mutual aid service contracts with the Columbus Police Department and strongly reevaluate Joint Patrol operations.” This is mean to be a means of “restrict[ing] the presence of and limit the frequency of calls to CPD officers and resources in the off-campus living areas.”

The students also demand that the university “reallocate the funds” that were originally going to OSU’s police department’s budget and instead redirect those funds to “student support units, such as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Student Life Multicultural Center, Student Life Counseling and Consultation Services, or the Student Life Student Wellness Center.”

The letter also demands that the OSUPD “acknowledge and condemn the anti-Black violence the Columbus Police Department committed against Ohio State students and the greater Columbus community.”

According to a tweet from OSU’s undergraduate student government’s Twitter account on June 2, the letter had received more than 16,000 signatures in total with 7,368 of those signatures being from current students at Ohio State University and 573 signatures being from faculty and staff.

[RELATED: Students call for laxed grading for black students. University goes along with it.]

Although the letter was addressed to now-retired University President Michael V. Drake, OSU appointed Kristina M. Johnson as its newest president on June 3.  The letter requests that a private and public statement be made on behalf of the university within 48 hours of its delivery.

Neither former President Drake nor current President Johnson has issued a public statement regarding the letter's demands.

“Those demands would not make our campus safer,” Chairman of the Ohio College Republican Foundation and president of the Ohio State College Republicans David Kalk told Campus Reform.“We all want justice for George Floyd and his family and we hope that the police can use this experience to realize there is more work to be done but the proposals in the letter are extensive measures,” Kalk added.

“We’ve seen over ten schools that have had similar policies opposed along with other radical proposals,” said Kalk. “We at OSU College Republicans do not support these measures because there is no scenario in which having no CPD presence on our campus will make us more protected.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @matthewkeyess