Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience : Office of Student Life

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  • To our Ohio State Community (122 Kb PDF)
    We are writing to you to clarify the circulation of a recent petition calling on the Ohio State University to sever its ties with the Columbus Division of Police. We recognize that lack of clarity and miscommunication about and on behalf of CGS has created

To our Ohio State Community

Posted: April 28, 2021

We are writing to you to clarify the circulation of a recent petition calling on the Ohio State University to sever its ties with the Columbus Division of Police. We recognize that lack of clarity and miscommunication about and on behalf of CGS has created a harmful situation. We want to provide a clear and transparent timeline of what happened.

To our Ohio State Community,

We are writing to you to clarify the circulation of a recent petition calling on the Ohio State University to sever its ties with the Columbus Division of Police. We recognize that lack of clarity and miscommunication about and on behalf of CGS has created a harmful situation. We want to provide a clear and transparent timeline of what happened.

  • -  The author of the petition is a CGS delegate. We, as a leadership team, did not learn that they had written and circulated the petition at the 4/21/21 protest until after the fact. They also encouraged other CGS delegates to circulate it within their departments. The way that the petition was written did not make clear the distinction between the individual and the organization and led many to reasonably believe the petition was formally endorsed by the graduate student body.

  • -  The delegate who authored the petition publicly identified themself as a member of CGS at that protest on 4/21/21 last week. We recognize that a member of our organization representing themself as such--even when acting as an individual--gave many the incorrect impression that they were speaking for and acting on behalf of our entire organization.

  • -  Under CGS bylaws, for an action to be an official CGS action it must be voted on and approved by the delegate body at our formal monthly meeting. In this case, our delegate body meeting has not yet occurred and therefore the organization has not yet had a chance to discuss this issue.

  • -  As the Council “advocates on behalf of all graduate students,” it would be counter to our mission statement to reveal the author’s name without their consent. We are working to contact the author and until CGS has discussed this as a delegate body, any future comment on this petition will come from the author as an individual.

  • -  We want to unequivocally state that no Ohio State University Professors, specifically Dr. Pranav Jani, had a role in authoring or creating this petition. We have confirmed this fact with the actual author.

  • -  We would like to formally request that any individual or group circulating information online which misattributes the authorship of this petition to Dr. Jani revise their statements to reflect this previous fact.

  • -  Additionally, we support Dr. Jani’s right to share a petition on his personal Twitter, and believe that singling out any one individual who did share or sign the petition is unacceptable and dangerous. We are concerned at the targeting of a private individual by OSU students, parents, or other community members.

We also want to clarify that even though we did not formally author this petition, that does not mean that we oppose the goals of the petition. The aforementioned delegate chose to write and circulate the petition with

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the intent to later bring this petition and a related resolution to the delegate body. The delegate body has not been formally presented with the petition or any related resolution. CGS has previously commented on Ohio State’s relationship to Columbus Police, including a statement and resolution on CPD and a resolutionregarding OSUPD by the delegate body. These make identical requests to those that were recently made by the Undergraduate Student Government and others. We have continued to follow these up with advocacy directly to relevant Ohio State administrators.

Our hope is that this petition will serve as the basis of a dialogue and future action, including formal recommendations from the Council of Graduate Students about actionable steps our University can take toward abolition. This is a conversation that we, as the Executive Board want to have, must have, and look forward to having. We recognize that as a majority-white organization at a predominantly white institution, our lack of clarity compounded harm done to students of color and Dr. Jani. That is our mistake. We deeply apologize to Dr. Jani, and to the broader community, for the misunderstandings and accusations that arose from this situation, our delegate’s actions, and our initial statement.

Sincerely,
The CGS Executive Board