The Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives speaks out about the protests on campus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Student demonstrations across Ohio are drawing backlash from state lawmakers who believe the protest at Ohio State University was handled appropriately.

House Speaker Jason Stephens told a group of reporters that it was important that protesters' First Amendment rights were protected, but also said schools had a responsibility to keep everyone safe.

“There are rules,” Stephens said. “I think it is important that these rules apply regardless of the type of protests. And, you know, hopefully everyone is safe and also able to express their First Amendment rights. But you have to do that within the rules.”

What you need to know

  • Students, faculty and community members joined the protest in the South Oval area of ​​the Ohio State University campus
  • Law enforcement began arresting protesters during the Ohio State University protests on campus just after 10 p.m. last Thursday
  • House Speaker Jason Stephens believes the First Amendment should be respected, but campus rules should also be respected

Protesters continue to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and call on university officials to divest from companies that support business ventures with Israel.

On Monday, police arrested and released about 20 people on the Case Western Reserve University campus after they set up camp as part of the protest. Last week, a protest at Ohio State University resulted in more than three dozen people being arrested for trespassing.

Ohio State University President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. said in an email to faculty, staff and students that the protesters violated university policies.

“I value and embrace free speech,” Carter said. “What happened on our campus on April 25 was not about restricting free speech. This was a deliberate violation of the university’s spatial rules, which ensure that teaching, learning, research, service and patient care can take place on our campus without interruption.”

Another protest is planned for Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the Ohio State University campus.

Anna Harden

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