By Arturo R. García
Give the person or people behind the OSU Haters Tumblr some credit: the campaign has actually spurred their school, Ohio State, to confront the racist attitudes of some of its students. Tonight, members of various student groups will hold a special town hall meeting to discuss the ugliness the page uncovered.
The page was founded months ago, but has gained more attention online over the past week or so, including the curious gaze of local media in Columbus, OH.
“The motivation to create these accounts came from the multiple sightings of hate speech online,” OSU Haters told The Columbus Dispatch via email. “Particularly the fact that these posts continued not only without consequence, but were sometimes promoted and shared by their peers.”
Here’s some examples of what they’re talking about:
It’s a testament to what social media can do to force attention to an issue that the school’s president, E. Gordon Gee, has weighed in – and thankfully, not to pooh-pooh OSUHater’s cause.
“It’s just clearly unacceptable behavior,” he said to the Dispatch regarding the racism. “We have a very clear policy, and I have very strong personal feelings about how wrong it is.”
And if the “former hater” who submitted this post is really being sincere, then perhaps their tale will serve as a cautionary one:
Shortly after my comments I was contacted by the university that a hold had been put on my account and that I needed to meet with them immediately. Becoming a nervous wreck as to what could have happened, I scheduled a same-day appointment and met with some of the faculty in the Office of Student Affairs. During that meeting I discovered the stigma that had been attached to my name and the consequences that could come of it. I was informed that I could be kicked out of Ohio State permanently with an official note being put on any other school I applied to about my comments. This would have been an irrecoverable loss that would haunt me for the rest of my life if I didn’t take quick action. I found out my comments were not private, not secure, not a just way to vent, and not okay.
Meanwhile, OSU Haters has called the ensuing discussions “amazing,” and continues to encourage students to engage in them:
Don’t succumb to hate or harassment – that defeats the purpose. In the end, hate cannot solve hate. As adults, especially mature college students, let’s avoid confrontation and accusations. Instead of stooping down to that level, let’s bring everyone else up. Let our ultimate goal be of inclusion and learning, through intellectual discussions.
[H/t to Angry Asian Man]