Senator George Voinovich and the Progression of the War in Iraq

By Ellenore Holbrook

Beginning in 2003, the United States became involved in an armed conflict in Iraq as it attempted to remove the government of Saddam Hussein and potential weapons of mass destruction. As a part of the War on Terror following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers on September 11th, more than 1.5 million soldiers were deployed to Iraq to perform combat operations and train Iraqi forces. While the war was initially supported by both houses of Congress, including Former Senator George Voinovich (Statement of Supplemental Spending Request for Iraq and Afghanistan, 2003), the support for the war began to sway in 2004 and 2005 due to multiple issues including the amount of United States military causalities, increasing costs and a failure to find weapons of mass destruction.

The future of the engagement in Iraq changed in June 26, 2007, when Senator Voinovich wrote a letter to former President George W. Bush presenting a plan to begin disengagement from Iraq (Bush Correspondence, The Way Forward in Iraq, 6.26.07). Senator Voinovich, in collaboration with a small group of Senators and Representatives were with the first prominent Republicans to openly address the issues of the Iraq War and look for potential changes in the future. The step in addressing and reevaluating the war was an important move for Senator Voinovich who stated, “Conducting oversight of the government, the administration, and the war is not only our responsibility – it is our duty” (Press Release, Report on Iraq Redeployment Planning).

One of the primary reasons this statement Senator Voinovich made was so integral is because it was one of the first times that such a prominent Republican elected official appeared to be breaking with the administration on Iraq. While Senator Voinovich had avoided supporting another bill in Congress that addressed the war because he believed they could be seen as an attack on President Bush or move to abandon Iraq in general, he knew the Iraq War had to be addressed (Sen. Voinovich Statement on Biden-Hagel Iraq Resolution). Senator Voinovich had a strong history of supporting veterans’ affairs both in the state of Ohio but also at the national level (Dinner with Veterans, 2003), and did not support sending more troops into Iraq (Warner Resolution and the Future of Iraq Speech, 2007). As such, Senator Voinovich worked to find a compromise that would support troops overseas and the veterans who had returned (Iraq Plan Talking Points, 07.24). In his letter and plan to President Bush, Senator Voinovich focused on the cost of the war, the lives lost to military operations, and how continued dangerous environments were limiting potential success of troops in the region (Bush Correspondence, The Way Forward in Iraq, 6.26.07).

Senator Voinovich stressed maintaining stability in the Middle East and stated that a premature withdrawal from the region could destabilize the region and put key allies in jeopardy (Iraq Resolution Speech). Rather, Senator Voinovich’s proposed plan included goals to, “develop a plan for Iraq that can be endorsed by all of Iraq’s neighbors and key international organizations,” while developing a timeline for slow disengagement and, “focusing more energy on refugee assistance, humanitarian aid, and reconstruction aid” (Bush Correspondence, The Way Forward in Iraq, 6.26.07).

Senator Voinovich’s continued dedication to veterans, the safety of the domestic and international spheres, and the ability to work across party lines were evident in his push for change in 2007. While his plan was never made into an official resolution, Senator Voinovich’s stance on the issue was ahead of the curve and put pressure on the Bush Administration and Congress to begin disengagement and a change of force in the region.

Environmental Studies professor presents research internationally

Sam Miller

As part of his long-standing international work, Derek Kauneckis, associate professor of environmental studies in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, presented research at the EcoSummit 2016 conference in Montpellier, France on August 30. The conference included 1,500 delegates from 75 countries and featured research from environmental scientists working at many of the world’s premier research institutes. This year’s theme, “Engineering Solutions,” focused attention on the intersection of ecology and engineering toward finding solutions for environmental problems.

Kauneckis presented research from the Water for the Seasons (WFTS) project called “Resilient Rivers.” This session focused on how different methods of engagement with climate sciences can lead to new ideas on how to redesign river system to better respond to changing hydro-climatic conditions. Additionally, he presented a research poster by MSES student Azamat Tashev on ecosystem services production in arid river systems.

Following the day’s events on August 30, Kauneckis and other members of the Mountain Research Institute hosted a mixer for attendees at The Black Cat Tavern, nestled in the city of Montpellier. This event was a chance for experts and their peers to come together in a casual setting to discuss their research in global change issues in mountain regions and possible solutions for the problems currently being faced. The mixer was coordinated by Kauneckis and colleagues at the Mountain Research Institute, who are from several different countries.

On the way back from Montpellier, Kauneckis presented research at the American Political Science Association (APSAs) annual meeting in Philadelphia from September 1 – 4. His presentation, “Innovating from Below: The Landscape of Local Climate Policy Innovation in the United States,” was based on research from the Local Climate Policy Project. He also chaired two sessions, “The Politics of Environmental, Energy, and Food Policy Issues” and “Politics and Policy of Urban Transit.”

“Presenting at conferences, such as these, allow other faculty members and myself to contribute to what the Voinovich School stands for: helping contribute to the greater good,” Kauneckis said.

Brownbag presentation focuses on the intersection of sports and sustainability

Michael Pfahl, associate professor in the Ohio University Department of Sports Administration, will be discussing “The Greening of Sports: Linkage Between Natural Environment Efforts in the Sports Industry” at 12 p.m. on November 18 in The Ridges Building 22, Room 221 during the next Voinovich School Environmental program brownbag presentation.

Pfahl began his career teaching management and marketing courses at universities in Thailand before coming to OHIO. His experience in the sports industry includes working with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Lumberjacks and Players Management, Inc. He is currently working on a case study for green facility management, research into fan behavior in relation to a sports organization personnel’s environment efforts. He is also writing a chapter that will appear in a handbook on sports and sustainability.

The Voinovich School Environmental Studies program hosts a Brownbag Lunch Series each semester. These Friday forums include an informal lunch presentation and Q&A related to environmental topics of interest. The events are open to all Voinovich School students, as well as OHIO faculty, staff and students and the community.

Not sure how to get up to The Ridges? Check out the Red Line CATS Shuttle, the Athens Public Transit routes, walk or ride your bike.

For additional information, contact Elissa Welch,

Voinovich School hosts potluck celebrating the year and kicking off holiday season


On December 2, the Voinovich School will host a holiday potluck for students, faculty and staff from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Building 21 at The Ridges. The potluck will celebrate the end of the semester and kick off the holiday season with friends, food, fun and conversation.

Guests are encouraged to bring something to share, as well as their own table service, as this will be a Green Event. To sign up, click here.

Center for Entrepreneurship hosts Mission Impossible

The daunting mission of becoming a social entrepreneur may seem impossible, but the Center of Entrepreneurship will host an event entitled Mission Impossible to discuss how to enter the field.

The event, part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, will take place Nov. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in room 102 of the Living Learning Center.

Topics of discussion include learning where future opportunities in social entrepreneurship exist, how to get funding for social ventures, and why social entrepreneurship could be a life changing decision. All of these topics will help get people started on the path of social entrepreneurship.

The following four panelists are scheduled to participate in the discussion:

  • Sarah Duplessis: Director at Food for Good Thought
  • Merry Korn: CEO of Pearl Interactive Network
  • Brian Vadakin: Social Enterprise Coordinator of Rural Action
  • John Glazer: Director of TechGROWTH Ohio

Come join the Center for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between the College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, and engage in a discussion on social entrepreneurship.

Upcoming workshop to help students find and apply for summer internships

As the cold sets in, summer might feel extremely far away. However, for those interested in competitive summer internships, now is the time to begin preparing.

Roxanne Malé-Brun, director of grant development and projects, is hosting a workshop called “How to Find and Apply for Summer Internships.” Two sessions will be offered on Wednesday, Nov. 30, one from 12-1 p.m. and a repeat session from 6-7 p.m. Another repeat session will be offered on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 2-3 p.m. The workshops will be held in Baker 231. The event is designed to help students make connections with professors on other campuses and to provide students a space to think through what it is that they might like to do.

Discussing the workshop last year, Malé-Brun said, “The college experience is about recognizing what you’re good at, but also exploring what you’re passionate about, and becoming good at what you’re passionate about. That’s what research internships are all about: test driving something. Trying something because you have an interest in it.”

RSVP is requested at

Two events offer Voinovich School students and alumni opportunity to celebrate National Philanthropy Day

To celebrate National Philanthropy Day on November 15, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is partnering with the Voinovich School Future Leaders and the Voinovich School Alumni Society to host two events – a ‘Thank-a-Thon’ and a ‘Habitat Build.’ The former will give students an opportunity to thank those who have practiced philanthropy while that latter will give students a chance to practice it themselves.

The Voinovich School ‘Thank-a-Thon’ will take place on November 15 at The Ridges, Building 21, Room 216 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students and alumni are encouraged to stop by for a few minutes and hand write thank you notes to those who have donated their expertise, time and/or financial resources to the School. All materials will be supplied, including sample letters, and Amista Lipot, the School’s director of external relations and strategic partnerships, will be on hand for the entire three hours to answer questions or assist. Those who cannot stay long, but still want to participate, will have the option to take materials with them and write their notes at home. Lunch will be provided. Contact Amista Lipot with any questions at

On November 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Voinovich School volunteers will join Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio as they work on a ‘blitz build’ in Meigs County to construct safe and affordable homes at a fast pace. A carpool will be available. Volunteers are asked to wear clothes that can get dirty or damaged, and to wear hard sole, close-toed shoes. Snacks will be provided.

Those who intend to participate are asked to RSVP with Sarah Nykl at or 740.818.4030,  including t-shirt size and indicating if participation in the carpool is desired. Click here to learn more about volunteering with Habitat.

Ohio Soybean Council Foundation offers scholarships up to $5,000

soybeans.jpgIf you are an undergraduate or graduate student studying agriculture or a related field, you could be eligible for a scholarship of up to $5,000 from the Ohio Soybean Council.  The deadline to apply is January 13, 2017 at 5 p.m., and applications are available here.

A total of nine awards are available to undergraduates. The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation will award seven undergraduate scholarships of up to $3,000. One additional $3,000 award will be awarded through the Farmer, Lumpe and McClelland Excellence in Communications Scholarship, which was founded to provide resources to young people with a passion for agricultural and business communication.  Also available to one undergraduate student is the $5,000 Bhima Vijayendran Scholarship, which was founded to support those pursuing a degree related to science, technology or soybean research.

To be eligible, undergraduate applicants must be Ohio residents enrolled as full-time students at an Ohio college or university, having attained at least sophomore status by the fall of 2017, with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Eligible majors include biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, molecular biology, chemistry, engineering, biotechnology, bioenergy, biofuels, food science, crop science, environmental science, agricultural communications, agricultural business, agricultural education or any other fields related to agriculture.

Three scholarships of up to $5,000 are available to graduate students who are enrolled full-time at an Ohio college or university. Applicants must be conducting research on bioproducts, biotechnology, biobased materials, bioengineering, biopolymers or a related topic. Applicants must also be focused on advancing the soybean industry. Applicants must have proof of legal residency in the U.S.

Contact Katie Bauer at with any questions, and make sure to apply by January 13.

Volunteers needed to help build demonstration rain garden

Student, faculty and staff volunteers are needed to help with shoveling and planting to build the new demonstration rain garden on Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Ridges BLDG #38 and #39, near Richland Park.

The demonstration rain garden is made possible by an Appalachian Ohio Clean Watershed Initiative EPA grant received by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The goal of the demonstration site is for residents to be provided guidelines to build their own rain garden at home, thus reducing stormwater and erosion while protecting streams and rivers.

For additional information, contact Environmental Studies student Emily Schaffer at or Voinovich School Research Associate Amy Mackey at

The Lucasville Prison Riots: Protecting Lives and Looking Forward

By Ellenore Holbrook

Lucasville began an organized attack on correctional officers as a form of protest against conditions within the facility. Known as the Lucasville Prison Riots, this event took place during then Governor Voinovich’s first term. After the riots ended on April 21, Governor Voinovich worked to address the issues within the Lucasville prison as well as the Ohio Correctional Facilities as a whole. Utilizing the Voinovich Collection, a number of documents tell the story of what happened in April 1993, how Senator Voinovich handled the situation, and the impacts the riots had on policy development in Ohio.

Utilizing a report sent to Governor Voinovich by two staffers in 1999, we can follow the chronology of the Lucasville riot in great detail. The Lucasville Prison Riots began at 3 p.m., when inmates took hold of the L Block within the Lucasville Correctional Facility. By the evening, inmates were holding eight guards hostage and they started negotiations of their 19 demands. The standoff between prisoners and negotiators lasted 11 days, with 10 people killed in the process, both inmates and prison officials.

On April 14, at the request of prison officials, Governor Voinovich ordered 500 National Guardsmen to arrive at Lucasville to help support other police forces in deescalating the situation and providing safety to those nearby. However, the following day the inmates murdered one of the hostage prison guards in order to push for their demands. On April 20, after negotiators and inmates began to consult with one another, the standoff ended and all prisoners and hostages were removed from the L Block.

Voinovich turned his focus to altering and reconstructing the Ohio Correctional System to see why this event had occurred and look to ways of prevention. In his press conference given on April 21, 1993 after the last hostage was released, he announced the creation of the Select Committee on Corrections. This Committee which would evaluate what happened leading up to Lucasville as well as improve the operations statewide. Within the Archives, multiple memos, discussions, and findings from this first plan discuss its goals and outcomes in detail. The goal was to encourage community corrections for non-violent offenders so prison space could be utilized for criminals that must be removed from society.

While the entire final report from the Committee on Corrections can be found on the digital archives, the main findings included a need for change within the prison system and offered recommendations in the areas of prison crowding, diversion programs, substance abuse, mentally ill inmates, and prison security. Governor Voinovich added to this through his own personal notes on the physical document by requesting special reports regarding substance abuse, mentally ill inmates, as well as addressing the issue of racism in the prison system.

Throughout the Lucasville prison riots, Governor Voinovich worked at monitoring the events as they occurred and supporting the experts handling the event. After, Governor Voinovich focused on continuing to develop the Ohio Corrections Facilities to prevent an event like the riots from happening again, while improving the system as a whole. More information about this event, and its impact on future decisions the governor made can be found in the collection.