College Republicans at Ohio Northern University were denied approval from the University last month to create 'Back The Blue' apparel for their chapter that included a 'Thin Blue Line' flag.

Madeline Markwood, chapter president of College Republicans, told Campus Reform that school officials denied the request due to other universities having to apologize for thin blue line apparel in the past.

Sheila Baumgartner, associate director of communications and marketing, sent an email to Markwood on September 17 indicating that the office had discuss the request due to its "sensitive" nature with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion board and the Office of Multicultural Development.

"They then discussed as a group and would recommend not moving forward with this project. There are several schools who allowed Blue Lives initiatives who have had to retract and apologize," Baumgartner said in an email to Markwood. "The support for not sanctioning this is massive."


Markwood said the apparel didn't feature the University's logo or lettering and was made in support of the police union for an upcoming event.

College Republicans faculty adviser Robert Waters told Campus Reform that he disagreed with the University's decision to deny the apparel.

"One of a university's many roles is to foster discussion and allow students to express themselves in ways that help them affirm their beliefs and identities," Waters said. "If a student organization wants to celebrate the police who protect them, their families, and their communities, that certainly fits within this definition."

"Policing is an important issue, and supporting police and saving lives has at least as much public support and ethical validity as criticizing police and demanding de-policing," Waters told Campus Reform.

Following the death of George Floyd in 2020 at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, Ohio Northern University President, Daniel DiBiasio, sent an email to the University expressing support for Black Lives Matter.

"Above all, we must engage in both the national conversation and determine how this moment can be a catalyst for positive change at our University. We can begin by truly listening to other voices, particularly the voices of our African American students, colleagues and graduates because Black Lives Matter," DiBiasio wrote in a statement, according to Campus Reform.

Markwood told the outlet that "since the apparel is on hold from the situation, we have taken matters in our hands and made a big thank you poster for our local police department."

"Our nation has already made it difficult for us (conservatives) to live, without us ever realizing it. I just didn't expect a small D3 school in the middle of Ohio to find it a priority of theirs to silence us," Markwood added.