Home Education Editorial: Student Senate cannot continue with Southall

Editorial: Student Senate cannot continue with Southall

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His presidency has been marked by embarrassment and incompetence. His inability to lead has created a culture of political disillusionment on this campus. He has damaged the reputation of Student Senate and made a mockery of student government. After a semester’s worth of ineffectual governance from Ohio University’s Student Senate, it has become clear to The New Political that Senate cannot function for another semester under the leadership of its president, Nick Southall.

Let us review the various times when our most prominent student leader has failed, and occasionally refused, to lead.

When a freshman student died in his dorm room in the second week of the semester and administrators like Dr. Jenny-Hall Jones offered sympathy, and Southall was completely silent.

When Southall posted the following tweet and then casually apologized, showing no understanding for the severity of his words until students showed up to a Senate meeting to demand an official apology.

When Ohio University’s Board of Trustees voted in favor of unpopular raises for OU President Roderick McDavis twice this semester, the second time in a legally questionable fashion, and Southall was silent on both occasions.

When Southall was submitted to a disciplinary review by his own vice president, Anna Morton, who said that Southall “hasn’t lived up to anything” and that he had failed to measure up to his role as Student Senate president.

When Southall was asked to resign during a Student Speakout session, and calls for his resignation were repeated in letters to the editors of campus news outlets. He chose not to comment.

When Ohio University’s Graduate Student Senate voted that it had “no confidence” in Southall’s ability to lead the undergraduate student body, and further added that not only do they have no confidence in his leadership, but that they “support all measures to remove him from office.”

Most recently, when Ohio University’s Office of Legal Affairs revealed Student Senate’s status as a non-public body, Southall refused to join his graduate student counterpart in voting to have Senate conform to the expectations of a public body. In doing so, he has once again resigned the responsibilities of a public leader, and the time has come for him to resign the title of a public leader.

It is highly unlikely that Student Senate will be able to shed its reputation as an ineffectual body if it does not first shed Nick Southall. We predict the ineptitude of this body will continue, along with the scandal and embarrassment, as long as Southall remains. The leadership ability of Morton is unclear for having been thus far untested, but we cannot imagine Senate as being any worse off with her ascension to the presidency.

President Nick Southall has paralyzed Student Senate this semester. The only way for Senate to escape that paralysis next semester is to escape the leadership of Nick Southall.

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  1. Adam Phillips

    December 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    I come to you as a member of Graduate Student Senate. I was there the night we cast a vote of no confidence in Nick Southall and supported all measures of his removal. I stand by the decision of the body but I ask; where does this end? He has gone through his disciplinary review process. He was not voted out of office. The students on this campus voted for President Southall and we would do well to remember that fact. He won last spring’s election fair and square. However some students have forgotten that. It seems as though some students on campus have used this incident to advance their own political agendas or try to live out some sick political fantasy by taking down the president. This is not some television series like House of Cards; this is a man’s life and reputation. Much like the incident on Court Street over homecoming weekend, certain factions on campus have attached themselves to Nick Southall’s moronic tweet and manufactured it into 8000 pound gorilla that just will not go away. The man apologized for his disgusting tweet. He has been called to atone already for what he did. At GSS we actually have things we would like to accomplish. Students are facing tough issues regarding university housing, increasing tuition costs as well as the switch to an RCM funding model and all anyone wants to talk about is a 4 month old tweet. We have real issues to tackle folks. I for one would love to collaborate with Student Senate on the issues of by-stander awareness and RCM funding as they are issues that demand collaborative efforts between grad students and undergraduates. We can’t though because certain individuals won’t relent. Why don’t we all put down the torches and pitchforks and stop chasing Nick Southall around the village so we can actually get some things accomplished?

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  2. Jonathan Phillips

    December 7, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    The fact that people are actually “calling” for Southall to resign his Student Senate Presidency is astoundingly absurd to me. It is a scholarship program as well, right? Wouldn’t that mean he would be willingly giving up his scholarship? Grow up people. This man doesn’t deserve to wreck his college career for making an incredibly sexist remark, but certainly more moronic is to have the audacity to think he ought to willingly rescind his own college career goals and dreams and efforts to this point because he exposed himself as a giant jerk via twitter and because some people say he is doing a bad job. The only scandal I have seen here is time wasted by those elected to the Student Senate and Graduate Student Senate–who have a responsibility and duty to represent the students–rather than focusing on the issues that really matter. The best thing about this editorial post from The New Political is my brother’s comment and effort to introduce sensible and certainly pragmatic perspective to the utter outrage playing out in the student senate and political circles and headlines at OU; but most importantly it expresses sincerity and a genuine passion for his position in the Student Senate at OU.

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