Student Senate Discusses Plans for School Year
Kari Nickell, a member of the Student Senate Public Relations team, opened up the press conference by announcing that construction and renovation has begun on the new Baker Center lounge.
“The lounge will open up as a new destination where students can safely enjoy university sanctioned entertainment with the convenience of not having to leave campus,” Nickell said. It is scheduled to open this winter.
The next topic on the agenda was the spring concert, a highly promoted campaign promise from last year’s election. Student Senate is planning to put on a large concert again this year during the spring as they did last year, and is hoping to make it bigger than the B.o.B concert that took place during last spring quarter.
“A significant amount of funds were approved and set aside for a spring quarter concert,” began Tessa Dufresne, a member of the Student Senate PR team. “So far we are not sure where the venue with be or who the performer will be, but the Campus Involvement Center is working on securing that.”
Senate does not have any specific numbers on the amount of funds that are being made available for the concert. They are hoping to collaborate with the Black Student Cultural Programming Board and University Program Council, who also sponsored and co-sponsored the B.o.B concert last spring, respectively.
Senate hopes to pull funding from the line item increase to the general fee that was added this year specifically to pay for student programming. However, this increase may not provide much money, as the overall general fee increase was only one percent.
Senate also stated that the amendment to the Athens City Code that the Student Senate Know Noise Task Force had started working on during spring quarter 2011 has been in part passed by the city of Athens. This amendment drastically reduces the charges for noise violations.
The new ordinance makes the first violation an administrative offense instead of a criminal one, with a fine of $100 to be paid no later than 30 days from the date of citation. If there is a second violation of the noise ordinance within 180 days of the first violation, the violator would be charged with a minor misdemeanor and another $100 fine. Any additional violations that occur within 180 days of the second violation will result in a fourth degree misdemeanor charge with the penalty being at the court’s discretion.
Senate officials also addressed the large number of sexual assaults that Ohio University has experienced during the previous school year. This year there have already been two more on and around campus. In an effort to combat this, Student Senate recently began work on a safety program to promote a more educated effort to reduce the amount of assaults that have been occurring.
This program will be based off of the television show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Student Senate hopes that this pop culture reference will create interest in students when they see the posters, fliers and social media. Once the program is launched, it will be centered around three lifelines to safety: phone a friend, not being alone and statistics to show students the frequency of sexual assault.
The program will be set up and ready to go by Sept. 28, but its name has yet to be determined. Treasurer Chris Wimsatt couldn’t provide financial details quite yet for the project, saying, “as far as an actual figure is concerned, we’re still working on that, but I can assure you that it will be more than adequate funding.”
Senate is also attempting to get in contact with the Dean of Students’ office and the Campus Involvement Center to see if they would be willing to partner with Senate in making this happen.
An unrelated event that also deals with rape and sexual assault will take place this Sunday, Oct. 1. The 4th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event has men from all over campus and the surrounding community taking part in a mile-long walk wearing women’s shoes to protest rape, sexual assault and gender violence. Proceeds from sponsored walkers in the event will benefit My Sister’s Place, a mental health agency supporting victims of family violence located in Southeast Ohio.
“These assaults are a very serious matter,” said Student Senate PR member Tony Koehling. “Student Senate is working diligently to promote a safer campus for all the university and the community as a whole.”