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Ohio State University Occupation Sees 'Safe Space' Argument Used By University

A compelling argument?

21/04/2016 16:47 | Updated 22 April 2016
keepOsuPublic/YouTube
An unnamed university manager speaks to protestors at Ohio State

An occupation at an American university was brought to an early close after university managers argued the protest infringed worker's "safe space".

Activists at Ohio State (OSU) began an open mic event inside a university building close to the offices of the university's president.

Around 80 students were present when university administrators intervened.

The university's efforts to close down the protest were caught on video uploaded to YouTube, below.

In the video, a university staff member is seen calmly talking to the students.

He says: "If you are students, and I think the vast majority of you are, I want you to understand that you are violating the student code of conduct.

"We have chosen to try to work with you this evening because we respect you. This is your university.

"And we want to have dialogue.

"We want the dialogue to extend beyond tonight. But if you refuse to leave, then you will be charged with a student code of conduct violation.

"And I’m telling you this now because I want you to have good thought and careful consideration.

"If you’re here at 5 am we will clear the building and you will be arrested."

The unnamed staff member then changes tack and refers to colleagues attempting to work in adjoining offices.

"Our goal, because I want you to understand why we would do something like this—I didn’t think we were going to—but the consensus of university leaders is that the people who work in this building should be protected also," he said.

"They come to work around 7 o’clock. Do you remember when you all made the rush down there and chanted to the folks outside the doors a minute ago?

"That scared people."

The people in this building have a right to a safe environment, and to an environment where their jobs won’t be interrupted

Warming to his theme, the man answers the cynicism of the student protestors.

"The people in this building have a right to a safe environment, and to an environment where their jobs won’t be interrupted," he said.

The argument appears to have worked.

The final group of students leaving the building at 12.30 am, according to the Columbus Dispatch, well ahead of the 5 am deadline.

The protest is part of the Reclaim OSU campaign.

The protestor's demands are for OSU to provide "complete, comprehensive and detailed access to the Ohio State budget and investments," and that the "administration of the Ohio State University be responsive to community calls for justice."

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