Lexie Tillery, an acting major at Ohio University, looks up at a student speaking at the Ohio University Black Student Union Town Hall Meeting on March 28, 2022 in Morton 145.

Lexie Tillery, an acting major at Ohio University, looks up at a student speaking at the Ohio University Black Student Union Town Hall Meeting on March 28, 2022 in Morton 145.

A Fearful Return

Published August 15, 2022

Preparing for a new school year amid concerns

By McKenna Christy | Culture Staff Writer

While some Ohio University students left to go elsewhere for the summer and others remained on campus, returning to an academic, busy environment for the fall semester has its excitement. The upcoming semester will bring many returning students to campus and a whole group of new students finding their way in a different world.

Kaitlin Kriska, a sophomore studying integrated social studies education, has always cherished her hometown but is ready to come back to OU where she enjoys having everything she needs closeby on Court Street.

Kriska’s excitement to return to college life doesn’t come without her concerns about how the university handled the racially-motivated hate crimes that were committed in residence halls at the end of the last spring semester.

“I think the university really thought that if they just kind of pushed it under the rug, that we were gonna leave for summer and then forget about it,” Kriska said.

A previous Post article details the events of last semester and explains what OU administration and students have planned to prevent future hate crimes on campus. But it will take time to see these steps make progress and they can’t prevent all students from feeling comfortable coming back to campus for a new semester.

“I am anxious about it,” Kriska said. “I think [the university] should think about returning students but also what about the incoming students that are going to have to constantly be anxious about like, what if this happens to me next?”

The university is working on creating more spaces for racial, ethnic, gender and sexual minority students. Part of the action steps university administration laid out include renovating the Multicultural Center and offering, through the Office of Multicultural Success and Retention, a new living opportunity for students in the LINKS program.

Christina Parker, a sophomore majoring in journalism and women, gender and sexuality studies, wanted to see immediate action after the hate crimes and was confused about the lack of it.

“I feel like people will not feel safe until there’s a promise of immediate action,” Parker said.

Parker also has concerns regarding the lack of communication and spreading of information from university administration about their plans for this year.

“It makes you think like, how many other people were passive and it’s like they didn’t really take a stance on it,” Parker said.

And while there are plans in development, Kriska feels the university should be doing something more consistently.

“They should be the ones protecting us and we should be able to feel protected by them,” Kriska said.

Students can also be aware of the different emotions and experiences their peers will have at the beginning of the school year, Kriska said. She also said people can be open and communicate with each other to feel more comfortable.

Students will begin the process of returning to campus and preparing for fall semester this month and incoming freshmen and new students will navigate a new environment. But every student, no matter how long they’ve been on campus, has choices to make on how they will treat each other.

“I just wish more people wanted to make (OU) a safe space,” Parker said. “Life is way too hard for everyone. Just be kind.”

AUTHOR: McKenna Christy
EDITOR: Alyssa Cruz
COPY EDITOR: Katie Trott
PHOTO: Zoe Cranfill
WEB DEVELOPMENT: Anastasia Carter