Students sitting-in President Gee’s office at OSU in Columbus, Ohio left peacefully at around 5:00pm yesterday. Everyone who participated in both the sit-in and the rally outside the administration’s building are feeling really good about how the day went and are looking forward to following this action up with more pressure on OSU to adopt a sustainable forest resources policy. We will continue to update this blog with the many happenings of Free The Planet‘s amazing activists on OSU campus – stay tuned!
Below is a summary of the sit-in from one of the students who participated:
Today, the students of Free the Planet!, an environmental justice group at OSU, participated in a sit-in at the university’s president’s office. Five students, including myself, went in to try to have a meeting with President Gee to reach a memorandum of understanding about a Forest Resource Policy we’ve been working to get passed on campus, which would ensure that forest products bought by the university would not come from endangered forests or native territories. The president refused to meet with us, instead, sending out his assistant, Kate. Kate told us that the president would not sign our MOU because he was not “well enough informed of the issue,” despite the fact that this group has been working to change the university’s policy for the past couple of school years. So, we told them we’d wait there all day until we met with Gee. In the meantime, we had fun and enjoyed the bowtie pasta salad we brought with us, in honor of the bowties our president is so fond of.
Throughout the day, we had anywhere from 5-15 students participating in the sit-in. Outside the building, a group of at least two dozen students rallied, informing the other students walking by of the situation. Despite the cold and snowy weather, the group kept the energy up for about three hours with lots drums and other noisemakers. The student support inside and outside throughout the day was amazing. At 5:00 when the office closed, we left, but only after several school-spirited rounds of “O-H!” “I-O!” and “Free Grassy!” chants. We may not have gotten our MOU signed today, but we showed the administration we were committed to this issue and tired of getting the run-around from them.
– Afton Avalos
Free The Planet activist