“Cheer for Bush, or face arrest, OSU grads informed….as graduates who had planned to protest by simply turning their backs to Bush during his speech were informed that if they did so they would be arrested and expelled (no diploma).”
All of the students appear to have been cowed into submission. Sadly during the 2000 election, both Republicans and Democrats forcibly removed protesters from speeches…but they always tried to claim that the protesters were a disruption. Here the proposed demonstration would have been completely silent and symbolic. (just slightly disrespectful)
There is no evidence I’ve seen so far whether the origin of the “arrest” threat came from Bush or OSU. I am hopeful it is not the arrest threat that cowed the students, as I’d hope they’d respond, “Fine, arrest us for peaceful protest, give us and yourself 15 minutes of fame…we don’t care.” Once upon a time the whole point of protest was to get arrested.
But expulsion, and revoking one’s diploma, on the day of graduation, is something altogether different. Today, I laugh at the mere idea of the threat, knowing there’s no way that the diplomas would stay revoked. (Private colleges might have the legal right to revoke them for any reason…but once crucified by the press, they’d turn around and apologize. I suspect a good proportion of Alumni might threaten not to give them their annual contributions. Always a good incentive for a college to rethink their actions. But OSU isn’t private, so there might be some legal issues) But I am 10 years older and wiser than these students. And I am removed from the situation. I think I can understand why the threat might have worked.
I hope the entire threat was entirely a misconceived idea of OSU’s to show the ‘Resident respect. I hope Bush didn’t have his hand in it. But unfortunately I suspect that might not be the case.