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Ohio University is committed to Make Respect Visible

Published: March 23, 2022 Author: Staff reports

The following message was shared with the Ohio University community on March 23, 2022.

To the Ohio University Community,

I acknowledge recent incidents that occurred on our Athens campus over the weekend have deeply hurt members of our University community. You have rightly called us to transparency about what happened and to an active and thorough response. With that in mind, I am writing to share details about the events and what we will do in the coming hours and days. 

Our community will not tolerate a culture that threatens, physically or emotionally, any group or individual on our campus. These types of incidents set us back from our educational mission and our efforts to build and support a diverse University community. 

What we know

OUPD and our Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility were notified about two incidents that happened in residence halls over the weekend. At this time, it does not appear that those events were in any way connected.  

OUPD has charged an individual related to an incident at James Hall, during which the individual urinated in a hallway and caused damage to property in one room. OUPD has not been able to establish a race-based motive in this case. In addition to the criminal investigation, we are moving forward with addressing the issue through our Student Code of Conduct process. 

An unrelated incident occurred at Sargent Hall in which a trash bag was left outside a resident doorway with a sign that included racial slurs and language that was pejorative toward women. OUPD is still investigating the incident and asks anyone with information to contact them at 740-593-1911 or police@ohio.edu

What we are doing 

In addition to investigations into these two incidents, we are focused on providing support for students impacted as well as reaffirming our commitment to building an inclusive community.

In the last several days, University staff have convened meetings with students in Sargent and James halls, shared information that was available and gathered input from those impacted. We have offered students opportunities to relocate to a different hall if needed. In addition, we have engaged leaders of Student Senate and Black student organizations to hear their concerns and ideas.

We must partner together to reaffirm our fundamental institutional values of inclusion and respect. Throughout the academic year, through our Make Respect Visible initiative, we have focused on six specific expectations: 

  • encourage dialogue, not division;  
  • recognize every voice counts; 
  • listen more, judge less; 
  • spread ideas, not hate;  
  • respect human dignity; and 
  • disagree respectfully. 

Our community will only be at its best when we can visibly respect one another.

We encourage students to say something if they see something. If you experience or witness a campus climate or bias-related incident, in person or online, please report it to University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance through their online form. Criminal activity can be reported to OUPD at 740-593-1911. All reports will be fully investigated.

Please know that I stand with those who stand against hate. I am committed to working to build a culture anchored in respect.

Sincerely,

Dr. Hugh Sherman
President

What Resources are Available

Staff in OHIO’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion and Division of Student Affairs are always available support to every individual student.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) If you are feeling distressed and need someone to talk with, services are available at CPS at 740-593-1616. If calling after hours, press 1 to be connected to a counselor. 

Drop-in hours are offered through Let’s Talk Hours, Sunday-Friday from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. in the Living Learning Center (LLC). No appointment is needed and all students are welcome.  More information is available at https://www.ohio.edu/housing/cir.

Student Support Meetings
  • OHIO students are encouraged to email diversity@ohio.edu to express interest in attending an IMPACT meeting, which is a support group convened for any Ohio University student who wishes to discuss special issues that may be impacting our community of students.
  • These meetings are facilitated by Dr. Kristyn Neckles, psychologist and embedded clinician for our Division of Diversity and Inclusion, on a by-request basis.
Employee Assistance Program
  • Ohio University's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Work/Life program is offered through Impact Behavioral Healthcare Services.
  • The EAP is available to all Ohio University employees and their family members.
  • Visit Impact Employee Assistance and enter 'ohiou' as the username under the heading Member Login to access informational materials and resources. Program features include confidential 24/7 live professional assistance (1-800-227-6007) and more.