Home Campus This is what students have to say about the Freedom of Expression policy

This is what students have to say about the Freedom of Expression policy

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Mayor Patterson and members of the student body attended the Student Senate meeting on Wednesday, expressing opinions about the Freedom of Expression policy and civic engagement.

Students speak out

Student Senate’s Wednesday meeting was attended by over 20 non-member students after Senate urged its constituents to offer insight and propose solutions regarding the widely debated “Freedom of Expression” policy.

In an open forum between the Senate and students, many constituents openly expressed their disdain for the policy, including the presidents of both the Ohio University College Democrats and the Ohio University College Republicans.  The two presidents delivered a joint speech citing constitutional and civic concerns.

“To think that a public university, one that receives funds from the state and federal government, can usurp both the state constitution and the supreme law of the land, is ludicrous to me, my organization and many others,” OUCR President Ryan Evans said.

Ryan Evans was joined by OUCD President Ashley Fishwick, who similarly conveyed distaste for the policy as it stands.

“Freedom of speech should be a way to learn, to grow and to advocate for change larger than themselves,” Fishwick said.

Among other issues voiced by students, David Boesche was particularly concerned that section C1 of the interim policy, which states that any group not affiliated with the university must reserve space on campus to protest, might allow the university to prohibit speech based on content.  

“Doesn’t this give the university, behind closed doors, the ability to limit speech based on content?” Boesche asked.

Commissioner Hannah Burke said she thinks it should be important to even have a policy. Before the introduction of the free speech interim policy, no guidelines had existed for Ohio U.

Senate President Landen Lama said he was “very satisfied” with the turnout, and was glad to receive input from students before Senate delivers its policy proposal to the administration.

Mayor Steve Patterson addresses Senate

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson addressed Senate to discuss topics such as civic engagement, transparency and accountability.

Patterson outlined achievements such as:

  • The creation of a micro-hydraulic electricity system at the waste center.
  • The creation of a domestic partnership registry
  • The creation of sanctuary city-like policies

Patterson also claimed that engagement between the city of Athens and Ohio U has increased since Duane Nellis has become president of the university.

“I believe that the level of civic engagement is going to take off exponentially,” Patterson said.

Other notable happenings

  • A resolution to place vice commissioners in role of commissioner should acting commissioner resign failed on the voting floor.
  • Allocations of Senate funds were approved. Most notably, funds were approved for an official Senate website.
  • Several internal resolutions passed regarding appointments and wording changes.
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