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The illusion of safety on campuses broken

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Shelby Lum © 614 Media Group

Shelby Lum © 614 Media Group

When picking a school, many students and parents check out the crime information the university releases to get a sense of the area’s safety, yet many of those reports aren’t fully reported or representative of the whole scope. The Dispatch investigated the issue and found that in some cases schools were reporting zero sexual assaults in more than a decade  and many schools weren’t reporting assaults that were then taken to the area police. From Ohio State to Bowling Green to Urbana University, the paper revealed skewed and at times wrong information being fed to the public to preserve the right image. Schools don’t always include off campus crimes that are blocks away from the main campus but will only report incidents that happen in campus buildings or residence halls. Reports sent to federal education officials many times excluded some crimes, and some victims said that university officials weren’t helpful or blamed the victim for crimes.

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Ohio State to Return to Campus this Fall

Julian Foglietti

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In a press release Tuesday, The Ohio State University announced its plans to resume in-person classes for the autumn semester. Classes will begin with a series of guidelines the University will be announcing in the coming weeks. 

Return to classes will include reduced density indoors, as well as face coverings and physical distancing. In addition to this, the University has stated it is developing learning approaches that combine in-person and distanced teaching.

The academic calendar will see a shift with classes starting Tuesday, Aug. 25th, and ending Friday, Dec. 4th - with the last day of in-person, on-campus instruction taking place Wednesday, Nov. 25th. The autumn commencement date is also yet to be announced. Fall break, and the day before Thanksgiving will also not be observed. 

The University is also announcing a phased-approach to return to facilities, as well as the piloting of a voluntary contact tracing program. Housing exemption for second year students will be expanded in an effort to decrease student housing density, and move-in days will take a staggered approach. 

With regards to football, president Drake states, “our hope and intention is to safely have a football season, with an audience spaced out in our stadium, but we haven’t made any final decisions.”

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Arts & Culture

What’s Open: Venues slowly start to roll out live music

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When it was announced in mid-May that wedding venues and banquet halls would reopen at the beginning of June, the next question became: When will music venues be next?

Although the rollout has been slow and will be gradual, Columbus venues and attractions that regularly house live music are making their comeback. When the high-spirited, good-feeling cover band Popgun graced the Natalie’s Music Hall & Kitchen on May 27, many people’s greatest fears of being robbed of live music for the rest of the year were eased maybe a little.

The only way for us to get currently get down to live music is to sit down, which is a fair trade-off given the times.

Check out a few Columbus venues that are set to reopen or have reopened under strict coronavirus guidelines.

  • The Forum Columbus -- The Forum welcomed back live music on May 29 with a tabled RSVP DJ showcase. For this event, guests were required to come in groups of no more than 10, be seated six feet apart from other groups, and remain seated unless you have to use the restroom. There are no future events planned as of this publishing.
  • Otherworld  -- The immersive art installation that took Columbus by storm in 2019 is set to return on June 11, according to the venue’s webpage. Otherworld will be operating at a capacity of one visitor per 160 square feet, or around 20 percent of the regular admittance. It’s unclear when the next time Otherworld will host live music, but this is a giant step in the right direction in terms of venue re-openings.
  • South Drive-In -- It’s not a venue in Columbus that traditionally holds music, but it’s become one and may stay one for the time being. Viral DJ Marc Rebillet will be bringing his sold-out drive-in show to the South Drive-In on June 14. With these types of performances popping up all around the country and the South Drive-In owner getting plenty of event requests, we will hopefully be seeing more shows of this nature in the warmer months.
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Govt & Politics

City Attorney Klein, Columbus leaders outline need, steps for police reform

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Elder Larry Price speaks at the police reform press conference on Wednesday, June 3.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and a few Columbus community leaders gathered at the Michael B. Coleman Government Center for a press conference addressing plans to “reform the culture of justice in Columbus.”

Klein, who has been urged to improve the systematic problems with policing, acknowledged during the press conference that “there’s systematic racism in every step of government.”

Asking the rhetorical question, What are we going to do about it?, Klein followed with, “The time for action is now.”

Those who spoke at the press conference also included:

  • Elder Larry Price, chairman of the Criminal and Justice Committee and Columbus chapter of the NAACP
  • Stephanie Hightower, president of CEO of the Columbus Urban League
  • Pastor Frederick LaMarr, president of the Baptist Pastor’s Conference of Columbus

LaMarr led off the discussion, delivering a message to “set aside differences to bring about real reform.”

Klein then made a few brief comments before giving Hightower and Price a chance to speak.

“Racism should’ve never been a part of the American epic,” Hightower said.

Price, who will also be speaking on behalf of the NAACP on Friday at 12 p.m., asking for a citizen review board in Columbus.

“The oldest, boldest, baddest organization on the earth now says, It is time. Enough is enough,” Price said.

Klein outlined the immediate actions that the Columbus government is going to take to reform systematic racism in the police department. 

They are outlined as follows:

  • Appoint special counsel from outside of the city to investigate the ongoing protests in Columbus, something that was also done in Charlottesville
  • Conduct a review of the Columbus Police Department’s procedures of clearing the streets of peaceful protests
  • Change the Columbus Division of Police’s use of chemical agents against nonviolent protesters
  • Submitted evidence to the Columbus Division of Police  Internal Affairs Bureau of uses of chemical agents and encourage Columbus citizens 
  • Create a citizen review board
  • Move charging decisions for alleged misdemeanor criminal offenses to inside the Columbus city attorney’s office for review before they are filed
  • Conduct a review of the Columbus City Code
  • Achieve police-community reform

Klein then took time after outlining the city's plan to answer questions from the media. A topic addressed in those questions included mention of the treatment of reporters in Columbus, specifically from The Lantern. 

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