Today, the Ohio Student Association condemned the House Higher Education Committee’s passage of Senate Bill 83 — the Higher Education Destruction Act — with a vote of 8-7.

The Ohio House Higher Education Committee’s sudden passage of SB 83 this morning has left students feeling horrified and betrayed. Certain politicians have claimed that SB 83 was written with the interests of students in mind, but since students have made it clear that this bill is in direct opposition to their interests and lawmakers are still moving it forward, that claim rings hollow.

For months and months, students have organized testimony workshops on campus, written and submitted testimony, sent letters, met with legislators, and organized direct actions on their campuses and at the statehouse in opposition to SB 83. 

“I’ve been organizing to stop this bill since the spring, and I’ve talked to hundreds of other students about it, and I have yet to meet a single student who supports it,” said Clovis Westlund, an Ohio Student Association member and Ohio State University student. “Ramming this legislation through during finals season – the busiest time of the semester (and especially after cutting short opposition testimony last week) – is a deliberate political ploy to ignore the will of the students who have been fighting against SB83 from the beginning."

“SB 83 directly impacts students and our voices should be at the center of this conversation. Instead, we have been repeatedly silenced and ignored when we continue to say loud and clear that we unequivocally do not want SB 83 and that its passage would be devastatingly harmful to us,” said Mel Searle, Ohio Student Association member and a University of Cincinnati student. “We call on the rest of the Ohio House to listen to students and stand with us in rejecting SB 83.”

In order for our state to thrive, we have to preserve our academic freedoms and encourage Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; not suppress it. SB 83 is a brain drain bill that is contrary to the interests of students and a threat to the future of higher education in Ohio and the future of our state as a whole. 

Ohio students call on Speaker Jason Stephens and Ohio representatives to reject SB83 and respect the fundamental freedoms of our students – so they can get a world-class college education that will help them contribute to Ohio’s future and help all Ohioans thrive.  

The Ohio Student Association is a statewide grassroots organization anchored by student-led chapters on college campuses across Ohio that organize issue campaigns to fight for racial, economic, and educational justice.