The protests of Ohio College’s previous, just like the one which took place on Faculty Inexperienced in November 2019, are almost unimaginable right this moment.
Within the age of social distancing, organizations voicing their opinions on OU’s alleged budget crisis have taken to social media to get their messages throughout. Though there was a motorcade rally organized by an OU union and the OU chapter of the American Affiliation of College Professors, or AAUP, a lot of the dialog surrounding OU’s price range disaster has taken place on social media.
Save OUr Professors was began as a social media motion by Olivia Gemarro, a rising senior learning English inventive writing and sociology-criminology pre-law, who was sad with the latest proposed school cuts and employee reductions and wished to unfold details about the price range disaster.
Within the first few days, Gemarro mentioned, Save OUr Professors noticed a rise of round 1,200 followers, with many people retweeting and interacting with the account’s tweets. The account has garnered consideration from college students, alumni and school.
The account has taken the motion past Ohio College, Gemarro mentioned, with the account receiving consideration from different teams across the nation.
“We have been retweeting not solely college students and alumni opinions … however I’ve additionally been connecting with different chapters of the AAUP … from totally different colleges,” Gemarro mentioned. “I have been reaching out to totally different professors to sort of get their emotions on this and get updates of who’s being let go.”
Save OUr Professors has been maintained by Gemarro and Autumn Murphy, a rising senior learning historical past, with others retweeting and sending emails to the college’s administration.
A few of their common tweets embody these highlighting professors who’re vulnerable to shedding their jobs amid price range cuts and photos of indicators taken all through campus, that includes phrases like “Thanks for the tree, however what about high quality levels?”
The account additionally options tweets from college students, alumni and professors voicing their opinions in addition to info from different organizations.
Save OUr Professors was additionally concerned within the latest motorcade rally.
The motorcade rally took what has been taking place on social media to campus, with about 200 attendees circling Faculty Inexperienced of their vehicles and an AAUP consultant delivering a petition to Cutler Corridor.
For OU’s chapter of the AAUP, chapter President Loren Lybarger, a professor of classics, mentioned the group had been engaged on their social media presence even earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic. That was vital to the chapter as a result of it’s a part of a nationwide group.
“We hyperlink with different chapters in addition to the state group and the nationwide group,” Lybarger mentioned. “We’re capable of not solely talk that manner, but additionally … share messaging.”
The significance of social media has shifted amid the pandemic, Lybarger mentioned. Moreover, he mentioned OU AAUP has seen a rise in its following and engagement, each earlier than and after the pandemic.
“Now we have made an effort to shine a pointy, important mild on it, our price range evaluation and so forth,” Lybarger mentioned. ”Using social media has been a instrument for us to get a message out to and to get our message out past simply Athens.”
Lybarger mentioned he believes Ohio College is garnering consideration due to the best way the cuts are shifting ahead, particularly with the college reducing school that line up inside its core purpose of range.
Lybarger additionally mentioned he feels there are considerations across the college not renewing tenure monitor school.
“That is an distinctive time, and we completely acknowledge that, however we really feel like there are different methods to do that,” Lybarger mentioned. “So we have been utilizing our social media to advocate for fascinated about how we could be a totally different sort of college, a college that may prioritize the significance of shared governance between school and administration; a college that may place its precedence on the school and employees, and guaranteeing that the college stays complete, even by means of this unprecedented disaster.”
Using social media activism in response to price range cuts just isn’t restricted to these advocating for school. Eliza Ivan, a junior learning political science and sociology, has been advocating for labeled staff who’re hoping to unionize.
Ivan has been advocating on-line to get assist from scholar group presidents to signal a letter to the administration supporting the employees at OU. She has garnered assist utilizing Fb and GroupMe.
“I work with a library and … my bosses are thought-about labeled employees, so their jobs are in peril,” Ivan mentioned. “There are those who have actually modified my expertise right here …. I acquired actually sick freshman 12 months. They provided to take me to the hospital and get me drugs. You understand, you by no means see an administrator doing that.”
Ivan mentioned OU President Duane Nellis has beforehand turned down the labeled staff’ request to unionize.
Many college students have additionally shared info and their ideas utilizing social media to assist the school and employees through the price range disaster cuts.
Madison Saylor, a junior learning sociology pre-law and ladies’s, gender and sexuality research, mentioned she has taken to social media to voice her opinions and let everybody know what’s going on.
Saylor has additionally mentioned the price range disaster with members of her pre-law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, and found that they might e-mail the Board of Trustees.
“With the entire pandemic and all the things happening, we actually cannot get collectively to rally in opposition to this,” Saylor mentioned. “I feel social media is essential on this case as a result of it provides all people an opportunity to precise their emotions … I feel it makes the school who’re within the state of affairs really feel actually supported.”