Anti-Bush Protesters Silenced at Ohio State Graduation
By Matthew Rothschild

July 1, 2002

George W. Bush came to Columbus on June 14 for Ohio State's commencement, and university administrators made sure he wouldn't hear any criticism.

At rehearsal and right as the ceremony began, a school administrator, Richard Hollingsworth, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, warned that any protesters would be kicked out and arrested. Some students said they were told they would be denied their diplomas if they protested.

(The story of the suppression of the OSU protest was broken in the left media by and by FAIR.)

The university was responding to a planned silent protest by a group calling itself Turn Your Back on Bush.

Hillary Tinapple, a graduating senior, was one of the organizers of the group.

"I was quite upset ever since I read in the campus paper that Bush had been invited to speak at my graduation," she wrote on the group's web site ( "That man signifies everything that is wrong in this nation: the abuse of power, the privatization of profit and the socialization of burdens, the destruction and dismantling of what I call progress without any consideration of the consequences, but most especially the Bush Administration's foreign policy and actions around the 9-11 issues. I am a member of the Green Party, and a passionate community activist, so of course my gut response was that something HAD to be done to show we do not approve."

She called an emergency meeting, and she "was excited about seeing new faces in the group," she wrote.

"About forty folks came to the first planning/brainstorming meeting, and about thirty came to the next one," she told The Progressive.

They decided to turn their backs when the President spoke.

But the threat from the administration "changed the whole feeling of the protest," she wrote, and scared off many students.

She told The Progressive that Hollingsworth warned them "he knew about the web site, and that if you do not cooperate, you could be arrested, and if you are arrested, then you would not graduate."

Hollingsworth did not return The Progressive's phone call for comment.

But Randy Dunham, an assistant director of media relations at Ohio State, says the threat to withhold diplomas from protesters was "an urban myth. Somebody took a statement out of context completely. What was said at commencement was anyone who attempts to block the hearing or view of others would be removed from the stadium and subject to arrest."

I asked Dunham why a silent protest would warrant an arrest. "If they blocked the view of others" it would be justified, he says.

Tinapple says "four graduates and about ten others" participated in the protest. "At that point , it became more about my freedom of expression as an individual than any single issue about the Bush Administration," she wrote on her web site.

But Dunham says, "This should not have been a political event. The President's speech wasn't about politics. It was about voluntarism."

For the record, the President, who happens to be a political figure, did talk about subjects other than voluntarism.

"We are called to defend liberty against tyranny and terror," Bush said. "We've answered that call. We will bring security to our people and justice to our enemies. . . . Our nation is the greatest force for good in history."

"Eight people turned their backs, and none were arrested," says Dunham. "That leaves 59,992 who seemed pretty pleased."

While none of the protesters were formally arrested, the police reportedly did eject at least one of them from the ceremony and threatened him with arrest. Jeff, who is identified as an OSU alumnus on the group's web site, wrote: "I saw one of Columbus's Finest heading our way. . . . We were being led out of Ohio Stadium. To the officer's credit, he realized there was a three-year-old in my arms and was not at all hostile. I asked him if I was under arrest, and he did not answer me. When we reached the exit . . . he told me we were being charged with disturbing the peace. If we chose to leave, the charges would be dropped immediately. With our daughter in mind, we chose not to fight it. . . . On this day, June 14th, 2002, I came to the realization that we no longer live in a free society."

Yoshie Furuhashi, a lecturer in the English at Ohio State, was also one of the organizers of the protest. Her conclusion: "The police and the OSU administration didn't respect our rights to free speech and free assembly at all," she wrote on the group's web site.

Furuhashi told The Progressive that some of the protesters are in touch with the Ohio Civil Liberties Union to see what legal recourse they might have.

"There was no need for them to clamp down on free speech," says Joseph Levine, a philosophy professor at Ohio State who joined several dozen protesters outside the ceremony that day. "They knew pretty well what was planned. There was nothing especially disruptive about that. This was an attempt to really put a chill on protest activity."

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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