The following message was sent to all Ohio State students on Thursday, January 19, 2023. 


Dear Buckeyes,

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful start to the spring semester. As you return to your studies and scholarship, please know how deeply proud I am to be a part of such a passionate and committed university community.

Your dedication was on display prominently over the holiday weekend, with many of our undergraduate, graduate and professional students participating in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday. A special thank you to the Pay It Forward student cohort, the Office of Student Life and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for organizing this yearly opportunity.

Eliminating hazing

Looking after people in our community and each other is fundamental to who we are as Buckeyes. This includes promoting a safe and healthy environment where students have the right to be free from hazing.

Ohio State’s new Anti-Hazing policy became effective last week. For the first time, it brings students, faculty, staff and volunteers under one comprehensive set of rules prohibiting the hazing of students and establishing requirements for hazing education, reporting and response in accordance with Collin’s Law: Ohio’s Anti-Hazing Act. As part of the policy, all students and employees are required to complete anti-hazing training each year. Please visit to get started.

Preparing for winter weather

Safety is the university’s number one priority. Even though our staff members and community partners work diligently to keep our roadways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice, severe weather will occasionally warrant the cancelation of in-person classes. Students should be aware of their instructors’ plans for alternative teaching methods to be used when face-to-face instruction is not possible. I also encourage everyone to be understanding and accommodating as we navigate challenging weather and look forward to the warm, sunny days ahead.

Classroom religious accommodations

Our university’s inclusive environment is a source of strength, and faculty are expected to work with students to reasonably accommodate religious obligations and observances. Likewise, students should notify instructors of their request for an absence or accommodation at the earliest possible point in the semester. By being flexible and working collaboratively, we can ensure that Ohio State is welcoming to everyone. 

A helpful, but non-exhaustive, list of religious observances has been compiled by the University Interfaith Council to improve awareness and aid in planning.

Leadership announcements

We were thrilled to announce last week that Dr. John J. Warner will join Ohio State in April as chief executive officer of the Wexner Medical Center and executive vice president at Ohio State, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. A nationally recognized clinician and leader, Dr. Warner is uniquely suited to lead the medical center at a truly transformative time in the health care landscape. I am deeply grateful to the search committee and board for recruiting such an outstanding new Buckeye and to interim co-leaders Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer and senior associate vice president for health sciences, and Mr. Jay Anderson, chief operating officer of the medical center, for their phenomenal dedication and collaboration during this transition period.

We were also pleased to share that Dr. Peter Mohler, the university’s vice president for research and the Wexner Medical Center’s chief scientific officer, will serve as interim executive vice president for the Enterprise for Research, Innovation and Knowledge.

Dr. Mohler will transition into the role under the leadership of the current executive vice president Dr. Grace Wang. He will assume the interim title on March 1 pending approval of the Board of Trustees as Dr. Wang prepares to become president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute this spring. An exceptional research leader, Dr. Mohler has a deep understanding of the university’s culture of innovation and creative expression.

Celebrating success

Congratulations to astronomy graduate students Kiersten Boley and Caprice Williams for winning the American Astronomical Society’s 2022 Beth Brown Memorial Prize for best graduate poster presentation and memorial oral presentation, respectively. The honors were bestowed during the annual National Society for Black Physicists meeting in December.

The Wexner Medical Center was named a 2022 Climate Champion by Health Care Without Harm — one of just 19 health systems and hospitals in the United States and 50 across the globe to be recognized.

And Ohio State received the 2022 National Recycling Coalition Award in the “Outstanding Higher Education” category for our commitment to achieving zero waste. I am so proud of our progress on campus and in collaboration with local partners as we strive to be a model of sustainability for universities worldwide.

Best wishes throughout the spring semester. Be well, take care of each other and, as always, Go Buckeyes!

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD