Skip to main content

Democratic Caucus Leadership, Franklin County Delegation, Jewish Caucus Release Statement on Ohio State University Demonstrations

April 26, 2024
Nickie J. Antonio News

Leaders of the Ohio Democratic Caucus, the Franklin County House and Senate delegation and the Jewish Caucus released the following statement concerning the overnight protests and arrests on the campus of the Ohio State University. 
“Protecting our democracy is among our highest duties as legislators and elected officials. The freedoms of speech, assembly, and expression outlined in the First Amendment are fundamental to sustain that democracy and we have to defend them with equal fervor and determination. That is why we are publicly reaffirming our commitment to those principles in the wake of the recent protests and uncalled-for police responses at The Ohio State University.
To paraphrase the famous quote: while we may agree or disagree with what people are saying, we must defend their right to say it. That is especially true when young people on college campuses gather to protest. Universities are places of exploration and inquiry and they have always been places where students seek to find their voices. The health and stability of our democracy also depend on the preservation of non-violent opportunities to express dissent.
Students have a right to protest peacefully, no matter the cause, and we have to vigorously defend their ability to do so. It is as true whether they are protesting against COVID restrictions or abortion access as when they are demonstrating against U.S. involvement in foreign wars. 
And while peacefully demonstrating that right, there is no room or excuse for the unnecessary force that was used on the students and demonstrators, including an elected member of the Ohio House of Representatives who sustained minor injuries.
It is equally true that all students deserve to feel and be safe on campus, and it is critical that all legitimate protests and demonstrations respect the safety and security of others. Harassment, incitement of violence, and other forms of hateful intimidation have no place in peaceful protests or on campus. The anti-semitism and other forms of bigotry we have seen around the country are unacceptable and harmful.
We are committed to students across Ohio exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and to ensuring that all students are able to be safe in their places of learning. In that spirit, we oppose the recent use of force and its risk of escalation on campus, and call for increasing efforts at dialogue, respect, and inclusion for all students.”