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Student Senate Supports Student Trustee Voting Rights

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Wednesday’s Halloween-themed Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting rights for Ohio University’s two sitting student trustees the Board of Trustees.

“As I’ve said, I’m a big believer in the idea that ‘if you don’t vote, you don’t matter,’” said President Zach George, primary sponsor of the resolution. “While the Board might listen to students at this point in time, we are not soothsayers, we are not mystics, we cannot see the future, that’s not always going to be the case.”

Senate Resolution 1213-14 was authored by Senator Jacob Chaffin and co-sponsored by Giles Allen, commissioner for state and federal affairs and Evan Ecos, treasurer. It as an official endorsement of Ohio State Senate Bill Am. H.B. 377, a bill aimed to remove the student trustees from Ohio University’s Board unless they are given full membership on said Board.

Chaffin, the author, who is also a member of Ohio University’s Student Union, expressed happiness that Senate formally adopted the resolution by saying, “This is a great step for Student Senate and student to really start working together in pushing students’ demands further, Student Senate’s a great platform for that.”

“Ultimately this is a very first step for student to ultimately make their university a little more democratic,” he said, stressing the importance of student opinion in the administrative decision-making process. “We not only will have influence, but have a solid, concrete vote on the board of trustees which is something our university and universities across the state desperately need.”

In an earlier New Political article [http://thenewpolitical.com/2012/09/27/student-trustees-respond-to-student-criticism/], both student trustees, Allison Arnold and Amanda Roden, have expressed that they do not think student trustee voting rights are necessary. Student Senate, however, agreed that trustee voting rights were necessary.

Allen emphasized the shift in focus with the endorsement of this bill, saying, “Yes, we have a voice, but have no tangible authority behind that. I would say that ‘if you don’t vote, you don’t matter’ … personally I don’t agree with that, I think our trustees matter incredibly. I think they carry a very high amount of influence, but I think that giving them a vote to back up that influence is the next step in giving students their greater deserved voice and power within the university. I think it will pass the [State] Senate.”

The bill has passed both the House and Senate Education Committees and has now reached the Rules and Procedures Committee of the Senate. President George hopes that by sending this resolution to the governor’s office, it will be gain the necessary support to pass the State Senate.

“After the election’s over, it’s still not dead. We’re still going to bring this up. Let’s keep this on the forefront of peoples’ minds and letting them know that this isn’t just something that’s going to fade away,” said George. “It’s completely in the hands of the state. But I have faith. If this is what students truly want, they’ll express it. We have as a body here tonight.”

Also in the meeting, George detailed a survey being circulated by Senate concerning student tuition and debt. The survey, which began on Thursday, aims to collect information of the tuition and debt held by Ohio University students for the purpose of being presented to University administration.

 

In the first 30 hours of being hosted, it has received 200 responses toward its goal of 1000, which it hopes to reach by December 14. The body is using emails gathered by the survey to randomly award a $75 Chipotle gift card to participants. The survey can be found at www.surverymonkey.com/s/outuition

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