Home Education Transparency, approachability top list of future changes for Student Senate

Transparency, approachability top list of future changes for Student Senate

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Ohio University Student Senate President Anna Morton addressed Senate Wednesday night with a speech encouraging the body to make fundamental changes to address past mistakes while celebrating its consistent accomplishments.

Wednesday’s general body meeting was the first of the semester with a full executive body, a challenge Morton addressed in her speech. Morton also talked about the drastic changes in leadership and mistakes that the body has made in the past year, saying that while it has faced significant missteps and challenges, she still believes in the body’s potential to benefit the students.

“It is obvious that we have had dramatic leadership transformations this year in top leadership positions, including executive and commissioners,” Morton said. “While I recognize some situations are out of our control, we must take full advantage of our reactions and progression. Our reactions and improvements to these situations speak greater of ourselves than the original incident.”

As Senate moves forward, Morton said her goals are to improve its transparency, connectedness and accessibility for the students it represents. She said senators should be actively listening to students and going the extra mile to make themselves available in order to make Senate a better resource for students.

Morton challenged senators to re-establish themselves in the eyes of students as leaders and problem solvers, saying Senate must become more transparent and approachable if it hopes to properly represent the wants and needs of its constituents.

“We cannot be comfortable. We must always be listening and observing to what the students’ needs are,” Morton said. “If you are comfortable and working hard to improve, then good for you. But tackle something new.”

Morton mentioned many of the accomplishments Senate has made, including successful programs such as Athens Beautification Day and Take Back the Night. She said these programs are often just as important as the issues Senate makes, such as student trustee voting rights and tuition hikes.

Senate also approved the appointment of two senators to vacant positions: Gabby Bacha was appointed to Residence Life commissioner and Ben Mathes was named South Green senator.

In addition to Morton’s address, Senate also heard presentations by Alpha Phi Omega, the Association for Cultural Exchange, and Senate Treasurer Adam Brown. Alpha Phi Omega discussed its annual Ava Nichols Faculty Benefit Pageant, in which university administrators and professors perform for charity. All funds raised from admission to the pageant go to Camp Quality, a free Akron-area camp for children suffering from cancer.

Class of 1998 Senator Emeritus Ron Minto attended the meeting and spoke briefly about the challenges and potential Senate has. Minto said while some of the criticism leveled at Senate is deserved, some of it is not.

“When it comes down to it, Senate doesn’t have much power at all,” Minto said. “Maybe a budget here or there. When Senate is doing its best is when it’s out there helping students and improving their lives. Just remember that this is a learning experience. You guys have strong leadership and you’ll do a good job.”

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