Ohio University students prepare protest after bats force school president from house

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ATHENS, Ohio- Students at Ohio University are planning a “bat rally” outside the home of the school’s president.

A barricade surrounds 29 Park Place in preparation of Tuesday night's rally. (Photo used with permission of Megan Henry, The Post)
A barricade surrounds 29 Park Place in preparation of Tuesday night’s rally. (Photo used with permission of Megan Henry, The Post)

The Ohio University Foundation announced a plan earlier this month to lease a $1.2 million, 4,586-square feet house as a temporary residence for President Roderick J. McDavis and his wife, Deborah. The president’s historic, on-campus home, located at 29 Park Place, is undergoing repairs as crews address a bat infestation.

“The bat incursion has merely accelerated a decision-making process that was already underway. By freeing up a centrally-located facility for academic or student support usage, 29 Park Place will better serve the objectives of our Campus Master Planning process,” trustee chair David Brightbill said in a news release on March 19.

Ohio University’s student-run publication, The Post, reported the lease is with the University Foundation, a fundraising nonprofit, but student money will pay for the $4,318 monthly payments.

The pricy plan has students fuming so the Ohio University Student Union organized a rally Tuesday evening outside the infested Park Place house. Nearly 800 have responded to the Facebook event page, which encourages participants to dress as bats.

“There are decaying residence halls, classrooms, poor student wages and rising tuition costs Why should students have to struggle to get by on loans while our highly paid administrators live in gross luxury?” reads the description of the “Bat Rally.”

The Park Place residence is valued at $931,120 with a yearly budget of $125,208 to maintain, according to the University Foundation.

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