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Longtime senate commissioner calls it quits

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After a five-year career in Ohio University’s Student Senate, former Residence Life Commissioner Mary Kate Gallagher has resigned, citing issues with how senate operates and connects with students.

“While I can count how many women have served as elected representatives on senate, I cannot count how many times my fellow women and I have been called b*tches or mean for holding people to higher standards, for doing what we are supposed to be doing,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher confronted senate members for propagating what she saw as an insider-friendly culture.

“Why is it relevant to be planning your ticket in May of sophomore year?” Gallagher asked, addressing a commonly held criticism against senate election cycles.

Gallagher said she has enjoyed her career in senate, but she said it is “no longer the family I joined five years ago.”

Gallagher urged senate to “stop, look and listen.” She wants students to “make the change that they want to see in this university.” She suggested that senate connect with students by talking to people, not just sending out surveys.

Gallagher said that senate should come together as a cohesive group and support each other.

“I look forward to seeing this body transform and blossom into something else… I am excited to see what it becomes,” she said.

Gallagher will still give her input as needed but she will not be an active member. The body sent Gallagher off with a standing ovation, after she reminded senate members to get their flu shots.

International Affairs Commissioner Hashim Pashtun had some motivational words of his own. He said student senate as a whole needs to work together to “regain the trust” of students at OU, after the scandals that have rocked Senate in the past few weeks. He does not want Senate’s image to be tarnished by the actions of one or two.

“I want to regain the legacy of the senate,” Pashtun said.

Following the resignation, Michael Lachman, manager for the local public transit system, made a presentation on the new and improved bus systems through Athens.  The Athens Public Transit is unveiling a new bus schedule that has now been expanded to five routes instead of three.

“I want to make public transportation something that’s a go-to for everyone in this region,” Lachman said.

One of the routes helps filter in commuters to the campus area during the morning hours on week days. Two routes connect some of the Ridges with the Athens Shopping Center on E. State St. A fourth route connects East and South Greens with the Athens Shopping Center so students without their own transportation can make it to the local stores. The fifth route connects campus to the Plains.

President Nick Southall said that the executives have sat down and started to examine the issues that Gallagher has presented.

“[Student Senate] is in a state where we are heading downhill… [but] we are going to have changes coming,” said Senate Vice President Anna Morton.

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