Dear Students, Faculty and Staff: 

As the semester draws to a close, I want to thank you for your dedication to teaching, learning, research, patient care — and to Ohio State. As we look forward to spring commencement and the events surrounding this momentous occasion for the class of 2024, I am reminded of the resilience of this class as they navigated starting their collegiate careers during a pandemic. 

We have much to be proud of — many achievements that reflect our comprehensive excellence and the collective efforts of students, faculty and staff. Because of you, this institution is vibrant and had an incredible year of achievement.

It has also been a challenging and, at times, painfully difficult year for many as we navigated devastating natural disasters, global conflict and tragedies across our nation. I continue to remind all campus community members that we have resources to assist you, from counselingwellness and tutoring services for students, to the Employee Assistance Program for staff and faculty.

College campuses, including ours, must be places where we can process these events through respectful discussion and debate. We are here together to learn from one another and hear new and different perspectives — including those with which we disagree. 

I want our students, faculty and staff to stand up for what you believe in — to have a voice and to use that voice. We must dedicate ourselves to using our voices with civility and compassion. Our motto is “Education for Citizenship,” and respectful debate is at the heart of our democracy. 

I remain steadfastly committed to maintaining an environment where all members of our community feel welcome while continuing to uphold the First Amendment and the laws of our state and nation. Ohio State will continue to prioritize safety, including having university police and trained staff on-site for student demonstrations. We will also consistently enforce our space rules, which do not allow for intentional disruptions of university events, classes, exams or programming, including commencement. 

When protected speech becomes incitement or threats of violence, Ohio State has and will always move quickly to enforce the law and university policy. I will not compromise on this. 

Ohio State is fundamentally composed of people — of all of us. As the academic year draws to a close, I ask all of you to consider how your words might affect your fellow Buckeyes. Even if speech is protected, is it how you would talk to a member of your family or a friend? Displays of hate speech on our campuses, even if allowed under the First Amendment, are reprehensible and do not align with our values. Ohio State must be a place where all are welcome and safe. 

This university changes people’s lives every day, and each of us is responsible for maintaining an environment where all of us can thrive. 

We are all Buckeyes, and we chose to be Buckeyes. We chose to join a community of common traditions and mutual purpose. This has always been one of the core strengths of Ohio State, and it always will be. Congratulations to each of you on a successful semester. As you prepare for final exams, commencement, summer internships, first jobs or whatever comes next, know that you will always be Buckeyes and will always be welcome at Ohio State. 


Ted Carter