On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered outside Ohio State University’s student activity center to protest the relationship between the school and the Columbus Police Department. This comes after Tuesday’s shooting where Columbus Police shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
According to the university’s publication The Lantern, about 600 people attended Wednesday’s protest, most of whom were OSU students. Its organizers stated that the protest wasn’t for police reform but instead to abolish the police on campus. The paper reports that students feel unsafe due to the relationship the University has with Columbus Police. Per reports, students were upset that by Wednesday the University hadn’t acknowledged the police shooting at all.
After gathering outside of the activity center, demonstrators then staged a sit-in inside the building, sitting for 16 minutes in solidarity with Bryant.
Roaya Higazi, a senior at Ohio State University and former Undergraduate Student President spoke to a crowd of protesters Wednesday and reminded them that the student body made demands in June 2020. Last year’s demands included ending contracts with Columbus Police and demanded University Police re-evaluate funds that go to the city police department in order to restrict their presence on-campus.
“Over 20,000 community members – not just students, faculty members, students, staff, people from the Columbus community, alumni, have all come together asking for these demands to be met, and we have yet to see any of them come through,” Higazi said.
These efforts by Ohio State University students are similar to others across the nation following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020 that called to abolish and defund a policing system that discriminates against people of color and re-invest the funds in preventative social services.