Untold stories through time and change
From student protests to the fight for improved disability accommodations to famous firsts, a new website is telling some untold stories that constitute an important part of The Ohio State University’s history.
The Carmen Collection is part of the university’s sesquicentennial, a yearlong celebration of Ohio State’s 150 years in existence, and ties into that history with stories, voices and perspectives of underrepresented Buckeyes.
“Ohio State has a long, storied history of diversity and inclusion,” said James L. Moore III, chief diversity officer. “So how do we unravel some of the mysteries and achievements of our underrepresented students in the university’s history?”
The answer comes from more than two dozen stories collected on the Carmen Collection website. The stories featured in the collection were uncovered through research in University Archives. Student interns on the project team explored publications, documents, images and artifacts to identify stories from particular times in the university’s history.
The multimedia collection includes written articles, short videos, interviews and historic documents.
Moore is one of the project leaders behind the creation of the Carmen Collection. One of his favorite stories chronicles the OSU 34. In 1968, 34 members of the Black Student Union at Ohio State staged a protest inside what is now Bricker Hall to bring issues of educational inequality, racial disparities and police misconduct to the attention of university leadership.
The students were expelled and criminally charged. All had to fight to clear their names and reverse their expulsions. Last year, to honor the 50th anniversary of their activism, the OSU 34 were welcomed back and honored at Ohio State.
“Their hope in the institution has been restored,” said Moore, also vice provost for diversity and inclusion. “They feel reinvigorated and reconnected to the university.”
Moore said the Carmen Collection reflects the university’s work toward a more inclusive society. He pointed out that as the university is celebrating 150 years, his office is celebrating five decades in existence.
“We are one of the oldest, largest and most comprehensive offices of diversity and inclusion in the country,” he said.
In addition to the OSU 34, the collection features a story on the students whose struggles led to the creation of the Office of Disability Services and a piece detailing how assistant drum major Morgan Davis draws inspiration from the first female drum major in the Big Ten, Ohio State’s Shelley Graf.
The stories will be preserved permanently in University Archives to ensure their ongoing availability for continued research. Sesquicentennial Archives Assistant Tyler Osborne said the university has been working on this project since 2018.
“[The collection] gives us a more robust history of the university,” she said.
Osborne said the collection gives a broader look at what makes Ohio State a leading institution and helps share the experiences of some students, faculty and staff for the first time.
More stories will be added to the site as the sesquicentennial continues into 2020. Moore said the Carmen Collection is one step in the university’s effort to share its history.
“There are more unheralded stories that are yet to be unveiled.”
The Carmen Collection is the product of partnerships between the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University Libraries and the Office of Student Life.