Student Senate discussed proposing a petition to change the name of the Roger E. Ailes Newsroom at its Wednesday night meeting. It also passed funding and delegate-appointing resolutions.
In a group discussion, senators called for the denouncing of Ailes from the university and for there to be an immediate renaming of the newsroom.
Many senators took the opportunity to speak out during the discussion.
“We need to take a stand as a body to defend against sexual assault on this campus,” Jacob Haskins, the University Life Commissioner, said. “Roger Ailes is an alumnus and we should not be using him to represent ourselves. That makes his actions look poorly on us by associating with him.”
Senators stressed during the discussion that just renaming the newsroom is not enough, with some calling for further investigation and education on sexual assault on campus.
“Sexual harassment and power-based violence has been an issue on this campus for decades,” Ellenore Holbrook, Senate Appropriations Commissioner, said. “Simply changing a room name does not actually address the inherent issues that are still occurring on this campus.”
One senator called for the newsroom to be renamed after an advocate and/or survivor of sexual assault.
A special committee of senators is being formed this week to create the resolution so that it can be voted on at the next meeting.
The discussion surrounding the newsroom’s name is a result of the $20 million settlement between 21st Century Fox and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. Fox removed Ailes, who served as chairman and CEO of Fox News, after allegations of sexual harassment by him surfaced from various women within the network.
In a press release on Tuesday, 21st Century Fox expressed remorse for Carson’s treatment at the network.
“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve,” the statement said. “During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team.”
Senate also passed a total of six resolutions during the meeting, with three dealing with the appointment of delegates and two for funding.
One resolution called for the creation of the committee for Community and Social Activity. Kelley Zebrowski, the primary sponsor of the resolution, said the committee will strive to provide more community-and service-based events in Athens.
“Right now, Adopt a Highway is our immediate service project,” Zebrowski said. “We are also planning activities for homecoming for our alumni as well as other social activities such as pumpkin carving around Halloween. We want to do more community-based service projects such as soup kitchens and adopt a family around the holidays.”
All six resolutions passed unanimously.
Student Senate meets every Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. in Walter 235.