Letters: Maybe Ohio doesn't deserve Ohio State. Anti-intellectual agenda a threat.

Letters to the Editor
Ohio State University

Maybe Ohio State should drop the 'state'

I read the March 14 dispatch.com article, "Ohio may prohibit employees at public universities, colleges from striking," with great interest as a retired professor from Ohio State University and one who follows developments in the university sometimes with delight and pride, and other times with dismay and foreboding. 

I doubt most Ohioans know that none of the universities in the state system are “supported” by state funds, they are “assisted.” 

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Only a portion of the funding of any of the 63 state “assisted” institutions of higher education comes from the state of Ohio. 

When I joined the university in 1973, the portion of their $2 billion budget provided by the state was 22% of the total. It has gradually diminished in proportion over the years. 

In the 1990s, OSU negotiated to have certain specific state controls lifted in return for a lesser percentage of state funding. By the turn of the century, the percentage of state assistance was single digits.

Today, the operating budget is $8 billion and the amount of state funding has become proportionately less.

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 This history of reduction of state assistance is critical to the potential passage of legislation that will increase state control of university operations, affiliations, teaching and research. 

Such a heavy-handed political powerplay obviates the potential for divestiture from state affiliation to institute private non-profit status for Ohio State University.

There is a tipping point just ahead where acceptance of state assistance will not be worth the bother. Seven to 9% of budget is a fair chunk of change but endowments and program restructuring could make state assistance superfluous; especially if that assistance is even less than what is was a decade ago. 

The university administration would likely wince at giving up “state” as part of their identity. 

That will be a small price to pay for preservation of academic excellence without interference from politicians with an anti-intellectual agenda.

Joseph A. Koncelik, Lewis Center

Crypto crash by Dave Whamond, Canada, PoliticalCartoons.com

Store it Safe

As a pediatrician, I have seen a significant increase in children suffering from depression and anxiety in the last several years.

I have also seen a large increase in children and teens with thoughts of suicide. Suicide is the second  leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 25. This is a fact that we cannot ignore.

The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics Store it Safe program (ohioaap.org/storeitsafe) has been developed and vetted by healthcare providers, parents, teens and gun advocates. 

The program trains healthcare providers to screen for depression and anxiety and provides resources for families. It provides information on how to screen for firearms, medications and other weapons at home, as well as lock boxes for families to keep firearms and medications out of the hands of youth undergoing a mental health crisis. 

Ohio AAP is seeking funding in the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget to expand this work statewide. I’m asking lawmakers to strongly consider this request to execute work below:

  • Continuation of quality improvement work and SIS program advancement statewide
  • Funding of lock boxes
  • Statewide messaging campaign

I stand with the Ohio AAP in asking lawmakers for this critical funding and I call on other pediatricians and advocates to do so as well.

Dr. Rachael Morocco, Ohio AAP member, Lewis Center