Student Senate passed a bill asking Ohio University to address the needs of international, immigrant and undocumented students on Wednesday. The bill is identical to one passed in February. It is being used to re-apply pressure to OU administrators on the topic of protecting immigration status.
“We’re not asking the university to break any laws but to protect their students to the best ability that it has,” said Elliot Long, representative for Interdisciplinary Arts in Graduate Student Senate.
Another sponsor of the bill, Fatma Jabbari, who is the international affairs commissioner for GSS, said the bill is still relevant because it addresses an issue that may become important in the future. She said a plan of action should be decided upon before there is an “emergency.”
A second bill, regarding preserving green space in the Ridges, was debated in regards to whether the environmental concerns of eliminating green space would be worth the created housing for graduate students. The bill, which ultimately failed, was designed to oppose the current plans for the Ridges, which would involve cutting into a small section of land that is used for research, as well as aesthetic green spaces.
Graduate College Senator Mitchell Smith and International Affairs Vice-Commissioner Amal Afyouni both advocated for turning the space into graduate student housing, but Environmental Affairs Commissioner Sarah Pinter was opposed.
“We have to respect the history of this town,” she said. “This is a critical habitat for wildlife. This is going to be detrimental to the forest that remains.”
The Senate body also voted to cut down on the Bobcat Readership Program but continue to fund hard copies of The New York Times for students, with a possibility of online subscriptions as well.
Several budget items passed, including funding for the next Senate general body meeting (which will be a transitional celebration event), funding for finals fest, queer prom and gifts for graduating members of Student Senate.
A resolution to appoint members to a senator emeritus committee passed, as did a bill that increased transparency and accountability for standing committees. The body also passed a resolution to establish a commission on regional campus affairs.
Student Senate meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. in Walter 235.