Home Money Student Senate officially condemns Ohio Guarantee Plan during meeting

Student Senate officially condemns Ohio Guarantee Plan during meeting

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Student Senate made it official Wednesday night: they condemn the Ohio Guarantee Plan for guaranteed tuition and will fight to get rid of it.

The body passed a resolution that both made an official condemnation of the plan and endorsed “the various actions students have taken and will take to protest this unfair policy,” according to the resolution. The vote was nearly unanimous, with only one person voting nay.

“I don’t think we need to tell the Board of Trustees ‘Here’s what you should do instead,’” Jacob Jakuszeit, a sophomore urban planning major, said. “I think it’s clear that this is a statement saying ‘What you’re doing is wrong, the reasons you give are faulty [and] there’s no logic basing behind them.’”

The Board of Trustees is set to vote on a 5.1 percent increase to tuition for incoming students to kickstart the Guarantee Plan. The Ohio University Student Union is holding protests Thursday at noon and on Friday in response.

Senate also passed a resolution that makes student trustee candidates participate in a public debate. It also put the election of the final candidates into the Student Senate election ballot in April. The resolution was created to solidify the details of the trustee election resolution passed in December as well as create more discussion on the topic.

McDaniel and Governmental Affairs Commissioner Ben Mathes took time to debrief on their trip with Governmental Affairs Vice Commissioner Will Klatt and Graduate Student Senate President Carl E. Smith III to the Ohio Statehouse. There, they talked to members of the House Education Committee and Sen. Lou Gentile (D) about tuition hikes and student trustee voting rights. McDaniel called the reaction to the discussion “pleasantly surprising”, and Mathes said that all of the lawmakers they talked to reached out to them to give them additional contact information.

Some senators used the discussion to criticize the current process of selecting student trustees, which involves a selection committee sending the chosen applicants to the Governor’s office. Two prominent critics were Jakuszeit and University Life Commissioner Charlotte Bassam-Bowles, who were members of that committee last year. Jakuszeit said that the process of a committee choosing the applicants was “incredibly undemocratic”, while Bassam-Bowles said that the committee was sexist and unfair with its choosing of its final applicants.

“During that panel, when [Vice President of Student Affairs Ryan] Lombardi and [former Student Senate Vice President] Mary Kate [Gallagher] left the room, there was literally a conversation about how attractive one of the candidates were and why we should send her to the state governor’s office,” Bassam-Bowles said. “And within those same situations, I was regularly talked over. It was very male-dominated, despite the fact that Mary Kate made this huge effort to include lots of diversity and diverse candidates.”

Some questioned how effective a debate would be and whether or not students would care about a student trustee election.

“The candidates tend to be underclassmen, so being on that public stage will be very nerve-racking to begin with,” Gabby Bacha, a South Green senator, said. “And I feel that if you frame it as ‘This is going to be a debate for you,’ then I think that’s going to psych them out, and I don’t feel that they’re going to be their best selves.”

The body heard a presentation given by members of the Tobacco Free Implementation Team, which includes last year’s Senate president and vice president, Anna Morton and Gallagher, respectively. The group spent over 40 minutes answering many questions that senators had on the implementation on the policy in compliance with the Ohio Board of Regents policy, including how severe the punishment is going to be for breaking the new tobacco-free rule, why the rule was being made and how students addicted to tobacco should respond. Still, some felt that the rule had many problems with it, including a lack of designated smoking areas.

“Personally, I would love to see a smoke-free campus, but I’d also like to live in a residence hall with very clean bathrooms, and what this sounds like is a community standards bathroom policy, which way too many people don’t really keeps up with,” Chris Yangas, vice commissioner for minority affairs, said. “Right now, this whole rule sounds very soft. The discipline part sounds very soft for a very severe policy.”

Senate has agreed to continue enforcing the biweekly schedule rule passed in November. The next meeting will be on Feb. 4.


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