23

Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Mostly Cloudy, 72 °F

compassLogo
Ohio University students gather around a cell phone held by Ryant Taylor and a megaphone held by Shambrion Treadwell on the College Green in advance of the Nov. 24 Occupation Baker event. A follow-up to Occupation Baker was held Tuesday evening in Baker University Center Theatre.

Ohio University students gather around a cell phone held by Ryant Taylor and a megaphone held by Shambrion Treadwell on the College Green in advance of the Nov. 24 Occupation Baker event. A follow-up event was held Tuesday evening.

Photographer: Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University

Students display a banner on the College Green in advance of the Nov. 24 Occupation Baker event. A follow-up to Occupation Baker was held Tuesday evening in Baker University Center Theatre.

Students display a banner on the College Green in advance of the Nov. 24 Occupation Baker event. A follow-up to Occupation Baker was held Tuesday evening in Baker University Center Theatre.

Photographer: Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University

Featured Stories


­­Students attend Hands Up, Walk Out Summit as follow-up to Occupation Baker


Emotions ran high as students from Ohio University attended a follow-up conversation called the Hands Up Walk Out Summit, or #handsupwalkout Summit, in Baker University Center Theatre Tuesday evening.

The event was held as a follow-up to Occupation Baker, which was held after a grand jury announced on Nov. 24 that there would not be an indictment against former Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for killing teenager Michael Brown.

The summit was hosted by a few members of the Ohio University Student Senate, including Ryant Taylor, Caitlyn McDaniel, Shambrion Treadwell, Jasmine Riley and Kelli Oliver. It served to facilitate an open conversation for the opinions of the student body and also to discuss the demands made during the Occupation Baker event on Nov. 24.  

The student leaders' suggestions to the community and University included starting cultural competency classes at OHIO, disarming the Ohio University Police Department and Athens Police Department, creating an open forum between black students and President Roderick J. McDavis, to have the signs made at Occupation Baker remain in the building through semester’s end, and increase the diversity of faculty. They also asked that OHIO provide additional scholarships for minority students, and that the University publicly condemn the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision.

The summit started off with a recap of Occupy Baker, and an open discussion that focused on the positive and negative effects the event had on campus. While many people in the audience believed the event involved and influenced people on campus, considering the number of people who attended, others said the event created a negative effect with negative responses on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Yik Yak.

“I felt that Occupy Baker was positive in having minorities express being black on campus,” said Taylor. “With having an open discussion, it allowed us to understand each other better.”

Others felt the event was a step forward. “I loved that people of all different races attended the event, and I want to see it happen around all of the United States,” said student Jazzmine Hardges.

“I’m glad it happened,” said student Olivia Busby. “I was so angry after the verdict, I would’ve gone to my dorm to mope about it, but instead I went to Baker. I was glad to see people on campus cared about the issue.”

Students said they believe things have gotten worse in the country with regard to human rights, but agreed they are the first step in creating change.  

“Being here gives me comfort and strength to change things,” said student Oliver Stone.

The audience brainstormed about how to approach and solve issues at hand, including taking a local stance on national problems.

Student Senate and the students who attended Tuesday evening’s event plan to tackle issues on campus and work their way up to approaching national issues. They also plan to take advantage of the power of social media to let their voices be heard.

An idea of making a viral video to point out certain issues was brought to the table, as well as a campaign. An idea of having large general assemblies at least once a month also was discussed.  

Student Senate and the #handsupwalkout Summit audience plan to reach out to other organizations on campus to get involved. They also plan on having a structure meeting at the start of spring semester.