Ohio News Briefs

Ohio University bans indoor protests with new speech policy

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio University’s new “freedom of expression” policy has been met with opposition by students.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio University announced the new speech policy Sept. 8.

Under the policy, protests and rallies are not permitted inside of university buildings. The shift in policy comes after 70 protesters participating in a campus sit-in to oppose President Donald Trump’s travel ban were arrested and charged with criminal trespass. University officials also cited violent rallies in Charlottesville in their decision.

Some students and faculty members fear the policy is too broad. Administrators say the university’s policy is a way to foster the exchange of ideas while keeping campus safe.

University officials last week extended a comment period by two weeks, to Oct. 20, noting it’s an issue many “care about deeply.”

Wayne National Forest waiving fees to mark Public Lands Day

NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The Wayne National Forest is marking National Public Lands Day by waiving fees for many of its recreation sites and trails.

The forest in eastern Ohio has set Sept. 30 as a fee-free day.

The fee waiver will apply to all recreation sites not on the National Recreation Reservation System. That means fees will still be charged for most campgrounds and group picnic shelters.

The forest’s 400 miles of multi-use trails also will be available for the day without a fee or permit. Those include horse, all-terrain vehicle, off-highway motorcycle, mountain bike and hiking trails.

The nonprofit Rural Action also is joining government, citizens and community groups in Appalachian Ohio to offer a host of related activities from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

Company donates $30 million in property to Ohio university

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio real estate investment trust has donated $30 million worth of property to the University of Toledo.

In an announcement last Wednesday, university officials say Toledo-based Welltower is donating 140,000 square feet of office space and nearly 100 acres of land.

Welltower CEO Tom DeRosa says the company has more space than it needs for its 150 employees. He says the company preferred to give the space to the university rather than to a random buyer.

DeRosa says the company will lease a 31,000-square-foot office building nearby.

University President Sharon Gaber says the donation is the largest the school has ever seen. She says the university has yet to decide how to use the property.

The transfer is expected to be confirmed in mid-2018.

Akron stadium headed toward likely, city-funded demolition

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The University of Akron’s former football stadium in northeast Ohio is moving closer to demolition that could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the dilapidated Rubber Bowl’s current owner, Team 1 Properties, has less than a month to avoid forfeiting the property under a judge’s foreclosure decree.

The company’s attorney, William Corgan, says it doesn’t have the funding to accomplish that by settling back taxes and other costs.

Akron administrators plan to tear down the stadium. That’s expected to cost $200,000 initially, and possibly much more to stabilize the property.

The owners had hoped to turn the property into a sports complex or music venue, but those prospects fizzled.