Home Campus Student Senate demands revision to Ohio U freedom of expression policy

Student Senate demands revision to Ohio U freedom of expression policy

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Student Senate 2017-18. File photo by Connor Perrett

At its Wednesday night meeting, Ohio U Student Senate passed a bill asking that the controversial freedom of expression policy see clarification in several areas.

Student Senate passed a bill on Wednesday demanding revisions be made to Ohio University Interim Policy 24.014 (also known as the “Freedom of Expression” policy).

These revisions included adding a list of Ohio U’s responses to violations of the bill, if passed, as well as potential consequences, both of which were not explicit in the original document.

Following the passage of the Student Senate’s bill, the Senate proceeded to deliberate on the passage of Senate Bill 1718-04, a bill which, in essence, seeks to extend an olive branch between the Student Senate and President Duane Nellis.

It should be noted that legal counsel was not sought for assistance in creating the Senate’s proposed revisions. Student Senate President Landen Lama said the senate did not involve lawyers in the revision process because the Foundation for Individual Rights for Education claimed student rights were not infringed upon.

“There was no reason for us to involve the general counsel because they gave us the power to do whatever we want,” Lama said. “They (FIRE) say this policy is protecting (of free speech) because we actually do not have a policy. So no, we did not consult a lawyer because they put the ball in our court to do whatever we want to it.”

While President Nellis’ Freedom of Expression policy is seen as a bump in the road by many students in his fledgling presidency, the Senate saw the controversial policy as a chance to strengthen their relationship with Ohio U’s executive branch, paving the road to create future dialogues that will enable greater student input on future university policies.

During deliberation, multiple senators cited and shared stories of President Nellis’ apparent genuineness in his concern for the wellbeing of the students of Ohio U.

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