Karen Holbrook Letter. Received this week from Karen Holbrook, President of The Ohio State University:
To our alumni and friends:
As a university community, we all congratulate our football team and coaches for their extraordinary season and Saturday’s tremendous victory. It is a remarkable accomplishment and they have made us very proud. We all left Ohio Stadium knowing that our Buckeyes had given their all to bring us to the verge of a national championship.
Sadly for all of us, the line between celebration and rampage was crossed Saturday night. I am certain that by now you have all seen the news accounts of the illegal and destructive behavior exhibited in the university area by a number of our students and fans. While some may say it was in response to our great victory, there is no way to draw any connection between the remarkable grace and poise of our team and the appalling actions that took place. To even try and make that connection is a gross insult to our coaches and our players.
Throughout Sunday, I met with members of the senior university administration and with Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and members of his staff. Following our discussions, we invited members of the news media to meet with us and I released the statement below. The mayor shares my dismay and disappointment with what took place, and together we have agreed that we will vigorously pursue all legal sanctions — both criminally and through the university’s judicial process where students are identified. For the university, I have authorized Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Hall to use all means necessary to deal with this unacceptable behavior by members of our student body.
The majority of our students celebrated appropriately and in moderation. Many students took leadership roles in an attempt to ensure a safe celebration. Unfortunately, a minority chose to ruin for the rest of us what had been a joyful occasion. Rather than reveling in our opportunity to become national football champions, we are obligated to respond to the damage to our community, our reputation and our university.
This is a community problem, and its solution will require collective ideas, support and cooperation. In the days ahead, we must all give thought to how we address this situation, both immediately and for the long term.
Karen A. Holbrook
The Ohio State University
STATEMENT FROM OSU PRESIDENT KAREN A. HOLBROOK IN RESPONSE TO OFF-CAMPUS RIOTS, NOVEMBER 24, 2002
Yesterday afternoon, we witnessed all that’s great about intercollegiate athletics — a spirited, competitive football game that went right down to the last second. Last night, we witnessed the very worst in reaction to what had been a joyful occasion. The behavior was criminal and unacceptable. And unfortunately, many of those responsible appear to be our students.
First, allow me to apologize on behalf of The Ohio State University community for last night’s actions. I express apologies to our city, to those who suffered property damage, and to those fans and supporters who did celebrate in an appropriate manner.
Mayor Coleman and I have been speaking throughout the morning. In addition to expressing apologies, I commended the actions of our city police and firefighters, along with our university police and security personnel, for their effective and professional approach to dealing with these appalling circumstances. I also informed the mayor that the university will cooperate in every way possible with the police as they investigate this event. As in the past, those who were arrested will be immediately suspended from the university. Those who engaged in criminal activity will face expulsion. Earlier today, I authorized Ohio State’s vice president for student affairs, Bill Hall, to use all means necessary to identify and address those responsible.
To this end, we will review the television tape and other photographic evidence of last night’s events and identify as many of those as possible who were involved. We also ask that anyone, students or otherwise, who can help identify the participants in criminal and destructive behavior to come forward and do so by contacting Bill Hall, vice president for student affairs.
We have 49,000 students at our Columbus campus. The vast majority celebrated responsibly and in moderation. Some even took leadership roles in an attempt to ensure a safe celebration. It is embarrassing that the actions of others, exhibiting the worst behaviors, have blighted what was otherwise an exceptional day.
Finally, it is sad to note that last night’s behavior is not unique to Ohio State. There were similar events at other campuses in the hours following major games yesterday afternoon and evening. And indeed, this is a national and ongoing problem and regrettably has become an all too common characteristic of our society. What the ultimate answer might be, I am not certain. But, it is my view, that such behaviors must be addressed on many fronts by university presidents, parents, and by the students themselves.