Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to clarify how student votes factor into the referendum process. An additional correction was also made regarding a resolution about naming commissioners. The original article said the resolution had been tabled indefinitely, when it was only tabled.
Ohio University Student Senate recommended no action on Ohio Senate Bill 199 to the Board of Trustees after students voted against concealed carry on campus.
6,940 students voted in Senate’s first ever referendum, with a majority of 65 percent voting against recognizing concealed carry permits on all of OU’s campuses. The student votes were then divided proportionally among a number of Senate votes, which translated to 31 in favor and 17 against. The Senate body voted 35 in favor, with six against and one abstention. The total vote count was 23 in favor, 65 against.
Student Senate President Hannah Clouser applauded the successful use of the referendum system.
“We took the extremely important issue of concealed carry on campus to the student body and allowed each person to express their opinion in our online system. We had a record voting turnout for our first effort,” she said.
The results showed that every campus but Athens voted for the recognition of concealed carry permits.
35% for, 65% against. The breakdown: pic.twitter.com/lomwbrVkax
— Heather Willard (@HeatherDWrites) January 26, 2017
Other political leaders on campus spoke on the subject as well, including College Democrats President Sam Miller, who tweeted her support for the referendum results.
— sam miller (@keepcalmsam14) January 26, 2017
OU College Republicans President David Parkhill also reacted to the results at the OUCRs meeting later that night.
“We took a big hit. But the students have spoken and I think we’re going to try and go talk to the Board of Trustees. It’s important that what the branch campuses said is represented,” he said.
Parkhill also challenged whether Student Senate represents all of campus, citing his experience going door-to-door campaigning for this referendum and the trouble some students had finding the referendum.
“We lost and that’s OK,” he concluded.
Clouser also delivered her State of the Senate address at Wednesday’s meeting. She commended the body’s many achievements from the past year, which included the two amendments to the Senate constitution of the new judicial panel and referendum system, the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, the creation of the #Bobcat Pledge and the removal of Roger Ailes’ name from the WOUB newsroom.
Clouser’s speech covered other achievements from specific commissions, which included Academic Affairs’ expansion of the Period Project, Governmental Affairs’ debate to inform voters on issues and the Women’s Affairs Commission’s Take Back the Night initiative.
“All of those things I just mentioned were done in a mere 17 1/2 weeks. If we did all that then, what can we accomplish in the next 12 1/2?” Clouser asked the gathered members.
The Senate also appointed Hannah Burke as the Women’s Affairs Senator and Mitchell Smith as Graduate Senator and voted to implement a new appointment system process as well as to assign the parliamentarian’s duties to the Clerk of Court. The parliamentarian is the resident expert on rules and procedures with the ability to extend some help to the general body.
Extended debate on a resolution that would allow vice-commissioners to choose whether they will take commissioner status upon the loss of the original commissioner was tabled indefinitely.
Student Senate meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. in Walter 235.