Discussion, demonstrations circulates surrounding Center for Law, Justice and Culture funding cuts

This Saturday, dozens of students gathered on College Green at Ohio University to demonstrate against proposed cuts to strip the OU Center for Law, Justice, and Culture’s (CLJC) funding.

Students and members of faculty were made aware Monday of the potential cuts to the program, as well as the possible reassignment of pre-law advisor Larry Hayman, the only faculty member in that department to general advising, The New Political reported.

The changes, if implemented, could result in the elimination of OU’s “Pre-Law Day,” a networking event for students and alumni, and the halting of lectures, panels and campus visits from legal scholars, a faculty letter said, according to The Athens NEWS.

Ohio University spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said the university is still preparing the budget and “has no plans to change degree or certificate programs offered by the CLJC,” The Athens NEWS reported.

The center, which teaches students about law, inequality, mass incarceration, policing and protest, surveillance and technology, and human rights and international justice, according to the center’s page.

On Saturday, faculty and students expressed their outrage at the cuts.

“Over there in Cutler Hall, Nellis, Shaffer, all of your leaders, they are not the bones of this institution,” Ohio University Professor Jennifer Fredette said. “They are not the heart and blood — that’s you.”

After the rally, demonstrators marched through College Green to Cutler Hall to post their petition against the potential budget cuts outside the building, according to tweets from the event.

Even The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio wrote a letter to administration recommending to not follow through on its proposals to strip funding, The Athens NEWS reported.

“The potential loss of this substantive university offering, at a time of great partisan divide, political incivility, and legislative gridlock would have serious confounding consequences for our society, state, and nation,” The ACLU’s letter said. “This is a profoundly wrong move at exactly the wrong time in the life of Ohio University and our democratic republic.”

The discussion around the CLJC funding comes as the university has had to grapple with an increasing deficit in their budget and decreasing enrollment.

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