I have delivered the signed petitions to the Board of Regents. I enclosed the following note and asked that it be read to all the regents preceeding the Mar. 3 meeting. I typed all names and addresses into excel in order to sort them to check for any duplications. There were NONE. I will also take a copy of the signed petitions to the City Commissioners with a similar note, in order to impress upon them the necessity of standing strong for the city and its residents.
Petition to STOP the Condemnation/Eminent Domain Property Takeovers in Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the â€œAthletic Villageâ€, Oklahoma State University.
This petition in no way purports to be a legal document. We are simply petitioning you, the Oklahoma Board of Regents of Oklahoma A&M Colleges, to â€œdo the right thingâ€. It is your responsibility to oversee and approve or disapprove actions of the university. You are the decision makers. We look to you for leadership and guidance.
The petition was simply posted on the website: OkStateExpansion.com, February 4, 2006, only 24 days â€œlead timeâ€ before petitions needed to be returned. There are 872 signatures: 699 Stillwater residents. 172 residents of the state, in cities other than Stillwater and 1 Nevada. There are NO duplicate signatures.
Obtaining signatures for the petition was not an â€œorganizedâ€ endeavor. No meetings were held regarding the petition, or people who went to public places to stand outside and obtain signatures. Businesses were not asked to place petitions at their establishment, since it was not desired to put anyone in a position in which their business might be affected in any way. Petitions placed in a business establishment were placed at the ownerâ€™s request. Petitions were also placed on the windshields of automobiles parked at the Library on February 21, 2006, during the OSU Town Hall meeting.
Anyone who wanted to print the petition and obtain signatures, at their own initiative, could do that. Some petitions were returned with only one or two signatures and a few people made a concentrated effort to obtain signatures.
Most people do not get involved in protesting an issue unless they feel they are directly affected. We understand that fact and are amazed that so many individuals, not living in the proposed acquisition area, chose to obtain signatures and/or sign the petition.
Individuals have stated various reasons for their opposition to the proposed â€œAthletic Villageâ€. Some are concerned for the loss of revenue to the City of Stillwater, closing of streets and for property ownerâ€™s rights and lack of â€œfair compensationâ€. A few feel the â€œsegregation of Athletesâ€ is wrong. Many are upset about OSUâ€™s seeming focus on athletics rather than academics. And many who have loved and supported OSU for years now feel â€œbetrayedâ€, have a great distrust in the leadership of the university and feel their university has become a corporation. There is also concern regarding national adversity and unfavorable â€œattentionâ€ due to this situation. Kindredship and support for the university, has diminished. All feel that OSU should build the â€œvillageâ€ on property it already owns.
As initiators of the petition effort, we feel the entire presentation and handling of the proposed master plan and acquisition has been a disaster. These signatures lament the unfortunate decision by OSU to be a â€œbullyâ€ rather than a â€œpartnerâ€ in what could have been an awesome undertaking for the City of Stillwater and for the University.