Ohio University student leaders are responding to the generosity of a famous alumnus by trying to get his name removed from a school building.
Because of the sexual harassment allegations that led to his sudden resignation from Fox News, former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes should not continue to be honored as the namesake of the WOUB Public Media newsroom, according to the Graduate Student Senate.
It voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the school to remove Ailes’ name from the newsroom. A local socialist group also is pressuring the university to dump Ailes to show it’s serious about fighting “the campus rape crisis.”
The WOUB newsroom was named after Ailes, a 1962 graduate and former WOUB station manager, after he donated $500,000 toward its renovation as a technologically advanced facility in 2007.
The gift provided a “quantum leap” to the newsroom, which had not been upgraded since the 1960s, by doubling its size, its news director said at the time. Ailes has also provided scholarships to journalism students at the university since 1994.
But Ailes is “not in alignment” with the university’s policy on sexual misconduct, the Graduate Student Senate told President Roderick McDavis in a letter following its Tuesday vote.
It cited the reported $20 million given to former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson to settle her lawsuit against Fox News, two months after she sued Ailes himself for sexual harassment.
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One of the speakers during the senate meeting’s public comment period was Sarah Grace, aDemocratic candidate for the state house and Ohio University alumna. Grace supported the resolution, which calls for the “immediate renaming” of the newsroom, the letter said.
Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, told The College Fix in an email he “has no say-so in this matter.” He said it was his understanding that McDavis “would be speaking about the issue on Monday at a Faculty Senate meeting.”
The university is “carefully evaluating facts surrounding allegations against Roger E. Ailes as they come to light,” spokesperson Carly Glick told The Fix in an email, but it must “exercise due diligence” when facing “matters of such great significance to our students, faculty, and staff.”
Glick continued: “We want to be clear that we value campus and community feedback. We hear you.”