Student Senate held its first of two forums on Thursday to address how a concealed carry referendum will work. At the last Senate hearing, Senators voted to put the question of allowing concealed carry weapons on campus to Ohio University students. The result of the campus’ vote will be issued to the Board of Trustees as a recommendation on deciding to allow concealed carry on all OU campuses.
Here are the basics on how the first-ever referendum will take place and how to get involved:
What it is: Student Senate approved the concept of creating a referendum last year, though this is the first time it will be used. It’s essentially a chance for students to give their input on the issue of concealed carry on OU’s campus. Previously, concealed carry weapons were not permitted on any college campuses in the state of Ohio, but the passage of House Bill 48 (Senate Bill 199) allows each campus to individually make this decision.
How it works: On Jan. 23 and 24, students will be able to vote electronically on what they think Student Senate should recommend to the Board — either for or against allowing concealed carry weapons on campus. Once the voting ends, if there are at least as many referendum votes cast as there are members of Student Senate, the votes will be divided proportionally among a number of Senate votes equal to the number of senators’ total votes.
What will happen next: The combined votes from the referendum and student senators will be used to decide how Senate will write its recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Like any other bill Student Senate votes on, this one will need a two-thirds majority to pass. According to President Hannah Clouser and Vice President Courteney Muhl, there is still some uncertainty on exactly what would happen if this majority is not reached by either side. Once this recommendation — one of many that the Board will receive — has been made, the Board of Trustees can decide whether it will change the university’s current concealed carry ban.
How to get involved: Student Senate’s next general meeting on Jan. 18 will include an opportunity for people to voice their opinions. Clouser also encouraged students to speak to their senators and student trustees. Student Senate will also be monitoring the hashtag #OUConcealCarry and is available via email at [email protected].
A second open forum will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Maggie Davis Room and will feature OUPD Chief Andrew Powers.