In a stunning gesture of rebuke, Ohio University has removed Roger Ailes’ name from its newsroom and has said it will return the $500,000 Ailes donated to guarantee the honor.
From The Post, OU’s student newspaper:
Roger Ailes’ name will be removed from a WOUB newsroom, Ohio University President Roderick McDavis announced Monday during a Faculty Senate meeting.
McDavis gave no exact date for its removal, but the letters of Ailes’ name were taken down before the meeting ended, and a wooden board was placed over the space soon after.
“The distraction from the teaching of the Scripps College of Communication has weighed heavily on my mind as I deliberated over the sustained effect on our university community should we continue to have our newsroom named for Mr. Ailes,” McDavis said. “Given the allegations against Mr. Ailes, the circumstances surrounding his departure from Fox News, I’ve decided to return his gift and remove his name.”
Ailes, an OU alumnus, donated $500,000 to the university in 2007. As part of a contract with the university, obtained via a public records request, he agreed to pay the full amount within five years in exchange for naming a newsroom after him.
McDavis’ rationale for removing Ailes’ name, the allegations and circumstances surrounding his departure from Fox News – i.e. multiple allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct – is totally legitimate. But as terrible as they were, Ailes’ sins against news and their effects on our society are just as bad. He built a political operation disguised as a news network, one that reeks partisan hate mongering and divisiveness almost every minute of every broadcast.
In wiping away the Ailes taint, Ohio University is no longer a paid vehicle for elevating Ailes’ journalistic misdeeds to legitimacy. And that’s great. But it’s a shame that ever happened in the first place.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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