InfamOUs: Last year’s most notorious controversies

cutlerhall

As bright-eyed, eager freshmen settle down in Athens, the town that will be their home for the next four or more years, feelings of excitement, anxiety, freedom and homesickness will develop among them.

Many of them have probably heard rumors of what Ohio University is like, and it is almost guaranteed that all of them know of  OU’s party-school reputation.

They have also more than likely heard of  select controversies and scandals that occurred during the 2013-14 school year.

In this article, those infamous issues are fondly referred to as “InfamOUs.” (Remember, freshmen, if a word has an “o” and a “u” next to each other, make sure to capitalize that shit and make it about Bobcats, baby.)

It’s important that freshman students are aware of what went down here in Athens, or rather specifically OU,  just within the last 12 months. Now, I don’t want to dissuade anyone from absolutely loving this chill little college town, but I don’t want to leave anyone in the dark either. Honestly, the more freshmen who know and understand about last year’s issues, the more they’re likely to make great impressions with their older schoolmates.

Chase Bank Controversy

On Homecoming Weekend in the fall of 2013, OU made international news with an alleged rape case that was caught and recorded on multiple witnesses’ phones. Videos and images of two intoxicated OU students, who were involved in a public display of a sexual act on the side of Chase Bank on Court St. in uptown Athens, were uploaded to multiple social media websites.

The following evening after the sexual assault, the 20-year-old female student reported to police that she received unwanted oral sex from her alleged assaulter, a 20-year-old male student.

The Chase Bank location on Court St. is where the incident took place. Photo courtesy of The New Political.

The Chase Bank location on Court St. is where the incident took place. Photo courtesy of The New Political.

As strange and questionable as it may sound, the investigation led by the Athens Police Department actually used these images and videos to determine if the case was a legitimate sexual assault. According to one onlooker, who filmed the incident, the female student was smiling and consenting for the male student to continue.

Police used this to further determine whether the two students were intoxicated to the point that any form of consent was void. The investigation further revealed that the two were seen walking together to the male student’s apartment where they spent several hours before the girl returned to her own apartment without assistance.

According to the police, the onlookers who witnessed and recorded the incident may have thought the act looked consensual, although it was reported that the male involved was assaulted by another man that night for the incident.

The Athens County Grand Jury officially decided to not press charges against the male student, ruling that there was no probable cause for sexual assault.

This case sparked controversy and tension on campus, as well as in the city of Athens, over the topic of consent. Many students and activist organizations argued that because the couple was intoxicated, neither of them could give proper consent in the first place. Many students also expressed their outrage at their fellow students who witnessed the incident and recorded it instead of trying to stop the couple in the first place.

This case was one that many used to further tackle rape culture on campus and in society as a whole, which is a prominent discussion on many campuses nationwide. It’s also a case that is essential for freshmen to know about because of its relevance to college culture, and more specifically OU culture.

OU is a great place to get involved in human rights activism, so any freshmen who want to share their voice absolutely need to step up and, to put it gracefully, get shit heard.

 

Student Senate President Scandal

OU witnessed turmoil with its initial Student Senate president, Nicholas Southall, predominantly in the 2013 fall semester and the beginning of  the 2014 spring semester. Now, if one thing can be said about this president, it’s that he knows the most important rule of politician life: get involved in a scandal.

The first offense made by President Southall was a tweet he posted in September 2013, which can be read below.

nick southall 2

Many students rallied against Southall’s suggestive tweet, arguing that it perpetuated “slut shaming” and rape culture ideology. Several students attended the “Student SpeakOUt” meeting, held by the Student Senate, to protest the tweet.

Southall addressed the audience prior to the meeting with an apology to the entire student body, stating that he “tweeted something ignorant” and that his “apology, in no way, is supposed to cover up his mistake.”  For many students, his apology wasn’t enough.

Photo courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Photo courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

In the early morning hours of Dec. 23, the night before OU’s football team was set to play East Carolina in the Beef O’Brady’s bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., Southall was arrested in his hotel for “disorderly intoxication”.

According to a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office representative, Southall was reported as saying he did not know where his room was and was screaming obscenities at the police, who had to subdue him with, wait for it, a stun gun. Yeah, our Student Senate president literally had to be electrified in order for the police to arrest him.

OU oh yeah, I guess?

He was released from the Pinellas County Jail later that morning. (I wonder if his dress was wrinkly?)

The following day, Southall resigned at the advice of Ryan Lombardi,* Vice President of Student Affairs and the adviser to the Student Senate. Student Senate Vice President Anna Morton replaced Southall as Student Senate president for the remainder of the semester.

 

Black OU Twitter Confessions

Many college students who are familiar with Twitter are probably also familiar with accounts such as “College Confessions” and, for OU students specifically, “OU Confessions” and “OU Crushes”. For those who aren’t familiar with these accounts, they are run by usually-anonymous OU students and tweet quotes submitted by other anonymous OU students.

Social media is essential to the majority of Bobcats. Many OU students are also quite familiar with the Athens Scanner Twitter page, which has proven itself as an incredibly reliable source of information, whether it’s warning people about an armed gunmen or it’s helping students to steer clear from busted parties.

During the 2014 spring semester, two new Twitter accounts for OU students appeared, sparking a lot of controversy. Why, exactly? The accounts were titled “BlackOUConfessions” and “BlackOUCrushes,” both created for black OU students.

In this Q&A with operators of both BlackOUConfessions and OU Confessions, the reasoning behind the accounts is discussed.

According to the operator of Black OU Confessions, Ricky Howard, a former OU student, explained that he created the account to criticize gossip and to show how divided the community is because of it.

“This page was not created to segregate the black community from the others,” Howard said in the interview. “This page was made to show how gossiping has an effect on the community.”

So how do some Bobcats decide to handle the situation and retaliate against the page? They troll the ask.fm site where anonymous students leave comments with unabashed racist slurs. Comments like “Nigger lol” and “Nigs say the darndest things” were included in the string of idiotic racism left by these trolls.

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The operator of OU Confessions explained that she was confused as to why BlackOUConfessions and BlackOUCrushes were made. She criticized the site for copying OU Confessions and using it to segregate Bobcat students. At one point in the interview she calls them a rip-off, but isn’t it a little difficult to be a rip-off of something that’s present at other schools? Either way, she was not happy about it.

 

Riff Raff

riffraff

One of the main reasons  — if not the primary reason — for OU’s party-school reputation is the multiple fests held in Athens over the school year. Each fest is notorious for insane amounts of attendees and copious amounts of alcohol consumption, which usually lead to a lot of havoc. The school itself absolutely hates the reputation along with many of its students, but a good portion of them are incredibly dedicated to helping that reputation thrive.

After last year’s #Halftime Fest, many students are proud of the fact that a notorious party-loving rapper “couldn’t handle” OU’s wildness. Now for those who are unfamiliar with Riff Raff, this might not seem like a big deal, but honestly, it was a really confusing ordeal because it’s Riff Raff. Seriously, both his image and his music emulate college party culture.

The incredibly eccentric rapper, who is known for songs such as “Brainfreeze,” “Dolce & Gabbana” and “Jose Canseco,” was one of the main headlines for the fest.

After someone in the crowd threw a beer can that hit the musician, Riff Raff reportedly began cursing the crowd and threatening the lives of anyone who threw a can at him.

This apparently gave the crowd all the more reason to mimic the offense (duh) and more beer cans began to fly at the rapper. He then dropped the microphone and walked off stage.

One can only assume that the likely intoxicated students who participated in the act were provoked by the rapper’s anger. Others may assume that they were only following the words of the rapper himself: “If you see somebody hatin’ point ’em out.”

*At the time of the publication of this article, the New Political’s website was down.

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One thought on “InfamOUs: Last year’s most notorious controversies

  1. Pingback: A March For Justice | Campus Feminism

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