It’s been a strange year — every week seemed to bring something new and unprecedented.
In March, most everything went online due to COVID-19. At the beginning of summer, demonstrators took to the streets to protest the killing of Black Americans by police officers.
At Ohio State, we saw the rollout of widespread testing and quarantine and isolation procedures and welcomed our first openly LGBTQ+ president. There was football and then no football and then football again. Campus nightlife changed. And students, staff and faculty experienced the true uniqueness of online learning.
So, to bid farewell to a year everyone hated, we’re taking a look back at what got us to Dec. 31.
Hazing, alcohol amid violations for three more suspended Ohio State fraternities
Jan. 9 — With the start of spring semester comes Greek life recruitment, but three more fraternities have been added to the list of suspended organizations for violations such as hazing and alcohol.
Zeta Beta Tau, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Pi had their statuses as Ohio State student organizations revoked by Ohio State in the second half of fall semester. Sigma Pi and ZBT’s registration as a student organization will be revoked until August 2023 and Phi Delt’s will be revoked until August 2024.
Both Sigma Pi and Phi Delt were found in violation of the Code of Student Conduct for hazing. Sigma Pi and ZBT were found in violation for alcohol, and Phi Delt and ZBT were found in violation of failure to comply with university or civil authority. Read more.
BuckeyeThon raises more than $1.6 million in 2020
Feb. 9 — An Ohio State annual fundraiser collected $1,606,087.99 this year for pediatric cancer research.
The final figure was revealed at the conclusion of the 24-hour dance marathon BuckeyeThon that took place this weekend in the Ohio Union. BuckeyeThon is a year-long, student-powered fundraiser, and all proceeds go to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in downtown Columbus, BuckeyeThon president Nina Ryan said.
“We must make it so that there is a world where cancer does not exist,” Ryan, a third-year in public policy, said to those in attendance at the dance marathon on Saturday. “We are $1.6 million closer to that.” Read more.
University announces virtual instruction for rest of semester, early move-out of residence halls
March 12 — Ohio State has suspended face-to-face classes for the remainder of the spring semester and will begin moving students out of residence halls due to the coronavirus outbreak, University President Michael V. Drake announced in an email sent to the university community Thursday.
Beginning March 23, all instruction will be virtual, the email reads, while spring break has been extended to March 22 so faculty and staff can prepare virtual coursework. Students living in dorms will receive an email from University Housing Friday morning with instructions to schedule a move-out time between March 14 and 22, according to the email. Read more.
Higazi, Hineman sworn in as USG president and vice president
April 8 — Roaya Higazi and Caleb Hineman were sworn in as president and vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, respectively, with the power of students being the focal point of their administration.
The virtual inauguration on a Zoom video conference took place Tuesday evening when Higazi, a third-year in city and regional planning, and Hineman, a third-year in natural resource management, took over for former USG President Kate Greer and Vice President Julia Dennen as USG’s newest leaders. Greer and Dennen welcomed them and offered advice while the new administration highlighted what they will look to accomplish in the coming year. Read more.
‘A large target on my back:’ Black students, faculty respond to protests, recent deaths across nation
May 29 — With a mask on and a sign in hand reading, “A man was lynched yesterday,” Alex Ushry, a third-year in finance, marched through downtown Columbus Thursday alongside hundreds of protesters to express their frustrations over the death of George Floyd and to demand change.
“It’s like you’re proud to be a black man, but at the same time, you’re scared to be one too,” Ushry, treasurer of the Black Student Association and member of black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi Incorporated, said.
A video circulated of Floyd, who died in the hospital while in police custody Monday after a former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, arrested him for allegedly using a fake bill. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed to the ground for several minutes, pleading, “I can’t breathe.” Read more.
Kristina M. Johnson approved as next University President
June 3 — Kristina M. Johnson will be Ohio State’s 16th president.
Johnson, formerly the State University of New York chancellor and once the undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, was approved by the Board of Trustees at a virtual meeting Wednesday and will assume her role Sept. 1.
“My wife, Veronica, and I are excited to be part of the Buckeye nation and we can’t wait to begin,” Johnson said.
She takes over from current President Michael V. Drake. Drake, whose contract as president ends June 30, announced his retirement in November. Read more.
By Black students, for Black students: USG’s Black Caucus
July 28 — In the midst of a nationwide racial awakening, this fall marks the beginning of Undergraduate Student Government’s first-of-its-kind Black Caucus.
The Black Caucus will both advocate on behalf of Black students to university administration and serve as a center for resource information, academic support and collaboration among Black students and faculty. Ose Arheghan, a third-year in political science and Chinese and chair of the Black Caucus, said the caucus was created by Black students and for Black students to access resources and support at the university and also to see themselves represented in the organization.
“We’ve created a space within USG that is ours and was crafted intentionally with Black students in mind,” Arheghan said.
They said the driving force behind the caucus’ creation was student activism and outrage. Read more.
Ohio State parents, fans gather to protest Big Ten’s handling of fall sports
Aug. 29 — For the first time this fall, fans gathered at Ohio Stadium to support the Buckeyes but instead of cheering for them on the field, they came with messages in support of playing out a football season.
Ohio State parents rallied for the second time this month to protest the Big Ten’s lack of transparency and decision to postpone the fall sports season. The Football Parents at Ohio State led the protest held outside Ohio Stadium, calling for answers, transparency and a return of football.
Amanda Babb, president of FPAOS, emphasized the messages spoken by the parents at the protest. Read more.
Ohio State gains approval for on-campus natural gas plant
Sept. 17 — The Ohio Power Siting Board approved the construction, operation and maintenance of a natural-gas power plant on West Campus Thursday.
The $278-million plant will produce thermal energy and electricity for Ohio State’s main campus, according to the project application. The power plant faced opposition from the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group that filed a petition in March to intervene in the case, along with several Ohio State students, faculty and staff.
University spokesperson Dan Hedman said the plant will cut carbon emissions by more than 30 percent in its first year of operation while providing energy-efficient electricity, heating and cooling to Ohio State’s campus. Read more.
Hundreds attend candlelit vigil for Chase Meola Sunday evening
Oct. 12 — To the people who knew and loved him, Chase Meola was a lot of things.
He was the Energizer Bunny. He was the inventor of “Electric Tequila,” his very own cocktail creation, and he wanted to invent “long sleeve swim trunks” to wear at the beach so he never had to do leg day. He engaged in a friendly turf war with FedEx drivers and UPS men and drew everyone’s attention when he walked in the room. He saw the best in everyone and was curious about everything.
Between speeches and dances to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” more than 300 people honored Meola’s life at a candlelight vigil on the Oval Sunday night. Read more.
Ohio State to purchase Catfish Biff’s for $1 million, pending full board approval
Nov. 17 — With $1 million, Ohio State could purchase more than 65,000 pizzas from Catfish Biff’s. Instead, it’s opting for the building and land.
The Ohio State Board of Trustees will vote Thursday to authorize a $1 million purchase of the building home to Catfish Biff’s Pizza and Subs, a South Campus staple known for its late-night customers. The purchase is meant to support the University Framework Plan, a long-term strategy to update campus-area infrastructure, according to the Board’s meeting agenda.
The move by the Board is a “strategic acquisition,” and there are no future plans at this time regarding what the space will be used for, university spokesperson Dan Hedman said. Read more.
Frontline workers at Wexner Medical Center receive first coronavirus vaccines
Dec. 14 — The first Ohioans were vaccinated for COVID-19 Monday at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, as 30 frontline hospital workers received their first of two doses.
Gov. Mike DeWine joined University President Kristina M. Johnson to welcome the first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to the Wexner Medical Center.
According to the medical center, 975 front line workers will be vaccinated with the first shipment of the vaccine. This includes workers across the Wexner Medical Center campuses, Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine and emergency physician at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State, said. Read more.