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Ohio State Students 'Occupy the Oval'

A movement that originated on Wall Street made its way to Ohio State University this afternoon. Dozens of students and staff members occupied the Oval to express grievances against the university. “No wetlands pipeline, no Cowboys merchandise, no tuition and debt hikes and no parking and research privatization," third-year student Andrew Lin read. While these were Lin’s grievances with Ohio State, they were the consensus of the Occupy the Oval rally. As a student, Lin lists tuition increases and student loan debt as his top concern. But he also opposes corporate involvement in university projects. “They’re trying to privatize our parking as well as our research. I think GE just made a deal with the business college and they’re funding research there," he said. Ohio State will receive $10 million for a multi-year research project with General Electric. First-year PhD student Haley Swenson said she thinks the university is run more like a corporation than a public institution. “We see that in the privatization of parking, increases in fees and tuition every year. Sort of getting the most labor for the cheapest price and that’s for graduate students as well as staff who work on campus. I think they’re trying to give us the most affordable education for them, but charging us exorbitant amounts of prices for it," Swenson said. OSU officials said they had not planned a formal response to the Occupy the Oval rally, and said the university supports students’ free speech rights. Occupy the Oval organizers said they will submit to President Gee a list of changes they want made on campus.