Oct. 1, 2007
By Anita Martin
More than 100 individuals gathered at the Civil War monument on College Green on Friday afternoon, primarily to protest layoffs of bargaining unit workers and the university's policy for reserving designated spaces on campus.
The rally, organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), consisted mainly of students and members of AFSCME Local 1699.
The group marched to Cutler Hall, where participants learned they could send in representatives to present their demands or head to Baker University Center, where Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl would address the crowd. They chose the latter option.
They came with demands to rehire laid-off workers, rewrite Vision OHIO with wider input and reform university processes to include more shared governance. They also asked for an end to designated gathering spaces on campus, an issue that came up last spring and which the administration had agreed to review.
"This day is about getting our voice back so we can speak freely wherever (and) about whatever we went," said a student who goes by the name Detroit. (See related story on this topic.)
Several protestors also called for student veto power of administrative decisions, either directly or indirectly through senate representation.
"There are some things for which the administration and the trustees must be fiscally responsible," Krendl said. She suggested a future campus dialogue between administrators and university constituencies to discuss "what we mean by shared governance."
Krendl opened the door to creating campus discussions on some of the protesters' concerns.
"We need better communication vehicles to answer questions, and we need to bring the right people to the table," Krendl said, mentioning e-mail, a Web site and campus dialogue sessions among potential communication vehicles.
"I find myself thinking of ways that students have effected change," Krendl told the crowd said. "We need to keep the doors open."