Decolonize OSU

book spines

Higher education should be a project of creating more inclusive and equitable communities. However, the work of transformation begins by realizing that higher education in the U.S. was founded on land grabs from indigenous people, the enslaved and forced migrant labor of African-Americans, and the construction of borders through military occupation and colonial warfare.

The colonial and racist heritage of public higher education extends beyond the land that grounds our University, however. The very idea of the liberal arts education rests on racist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist commitments to white, male, Western “knowledge” as the rightful core of all people’s educations. We disagree. As anti-racist feminist scholars and teachers, we believe that education and its places of learning must be decolonized.

We call out the colonial, anti-Black, sexist, homophobic, and ableist practices on our campus and embedded in its structures of reward and investment. We refuse the withholding of quality higher education based on criminal history, disability, or documented migrant status.

OSU invests in oppressive structures of racism, heterosexism, and settler colonialism, for example, through its capital investments in energy companies which impede indigenous sovereignty and increase environmental racism worldwide; its militarized policing and investment in the prison industrial complex; its cultures of sexual coercion and the denigration of women, trans, and sexual minority students; its disregard for the violent impacts on students of color of being underrepresented on a predominantly white campus; and its practices of gentrification.

We are in relation to the land and our environments, and to each other. We commit to welcome and center perspectives unrecognized and decentered by whiteness, settler colonialism, binary gender, heterosexuality, and ableism. We collaborate with communities and refuse to serve as experts in activities or events without community and student partners.


We do not seek to disseminate knowledge from the podium. We work in collaboration to create new ways of knowing, learning, and being with students, community partners, and teachers.