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BGSU leaders not swayed by protests, petitions


Demonstrators outside Bowling Green State University's Popular Culture House show their support for the venerable structure, which the university plans to demolish. The house was bought as a kit in 1932.

The Blade/Lori King
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BOWLING GREEN — About 50 demonstrators gathered outside the pop culture department at Bowling Green State University on Tuesday to protest the upcoming demolition of the historic building, but despite support from some faculty, students, community members, and passing drivers, the administration said it will raze the structure as planned.

The thought of losing the building brought Kristen Rudisill, an assistant professor in the pop culture department, to tears.

The pop culture building is a kit home purchased from a Montgomery Ward catalogue in 1932.

"This building has been the home of the pop culture department for the last 40 years. It's made the university feel like a home," said Ms. Rudisill, who has taught in the department for five years.

"We're here because I guess we need to make a little noise," she added.

Drivers passing on Wooster and College streets, many of whom tooted their horns in response to signs that read "Honk if you love pop culture," added to that noise.

But despite the outpouring of opposition, the administration has no plans to cancel or postpone the demolition.

"As of now, we are proceeding as planned," said David Kielmeyer, spokesman for BGSU.

News of the planned demolition broke last week and spread quickly among faculty and students, the Bowling Green community, and kit- home aficionados.

Those who oppose the demolition say that razing the building, which also housed four of BGSU's 11 presidents, would destroy a piece of historic Americana and the birthplace of a discipline.

Defenders of the building have sent letters to BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey and have written opinion columns in local publications.

An online petition had nearly 1,900 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

Vocal opposition resulted in meetings with Provost Rodney Rogers, university deans, and a discussion with President Mazey scheduled for next week, but many at Tuesday's demonstration were pessimistic about the chances of swaying the administration.

"I would like to say I am optimistic," said Louis Main, a Bowling Green resident who received her master's degree from BGSU. "But I don't know if there's enough history here. I don't think there's anyone in the powers that be with a sense of history."

But Erin Holmberg, who organized the protest and is a graduate of BGSU and the daughter of a pop culture professor, was not deterred.

"We want to make sure that President Mazey and everyone at Bowling Green know how much it's loved," she said, gesturing to the building behind her.

"The administration seems to be unmoved by 1,800 people who signed the petition and everyone out here today," she continued, adding, "I'm very optimistic, though. If 1,800 people asked me to do something, I would."

Contact Jessica Shor at: or 419-724-6516.

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