Home Politics Student Senate presidents say administration silenced their voices on BPC

Student Senate presidents say administration silenced their voices on BPC

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To say the relationship between student government and Ohio University’s administration is strained would be an understatement, as tensions have been thrown into the public eye.

 

Let’s start from the beginning. President Roderick McDavis said during a media event, following the Board of Trustees meeting, last Friday that Student Senate president Megan Marzec and Graduate Student Senate President Carl E. Smith, III did not attend a Budget Planning Council (BPC) meeting. The meeting, on a Dec. 8, included the vote for tuition increases.

 

In response McDavis’ statement, Smith released a letter to media outlets entitled, “The Whole Truth: Administrative Strategic Scheduling Conflicts, Denied Proxies, and Backroom Conversations”, accusing the administration of rigging BPC meetings against student representatives. The letter can be read in full here.

 

Smith claimed that university officials created “academic strategic scheduling conflicts” to prevent him and Marzec from attending BPC meetings and denied Marzec a proxy for the tuition hikes vote on Dec. 8.

 

“There are a series of short-notice administrative reschedulings of the Budget Planning Council that disadvantage highly-involved student leaders from attending important meetings,” Smith said in an email. “These short-notice reschedulings tend to occur when votes on tuition are held, and tend to coincide with student class work and finals week. At the same time, the co-chairs of the Budget Planning Council have denied student leaders the right to send proxies in their place, and so the cards are stacked for getting student representation on issues where students are both the primary and majority stakeholder.”

 

Marzec shared similar views, saying the meetings “are frequently rescheduled, after being scheduled months in advance, to any time of the day with as little as a week’s notice.”

 

“[Smith and I] are repeatedly shut down, ganged up on and blatantly tricked or lied to while sitting on this committee.”

 

Out of the 16 members of BPC, only three are students. These consist of the Undergraduate Student Senate president, the Graduate Student Senate president and the senior Student Trustees. Senior Student Trustee Keith Wilbur was the only student representative to attend both a Nov. 12 meeting discussing tuition raises and the Dec. 8 meeting voting on those raises.

 

During last Friday’s media event, McDavis claimed that there were no discussions or conversations about tuition between him and students.

 

“I hoped that we could have had some conversations before today, and unfortunately, that did not occur.”

 

However, Smith said in the letter that this is not the case.

 

“When I asked what his office could do to help lower student loan debt, President McDavis replied, ‘Happy to take a look at it.’ Wanting something more concrete, I asked when I should follow up and how student government could play a role in the examination. McDavis replied, ‘Well… a group of administrators will first have a conversation, and then if we think it’s necessary to bring you in, we will.’ No such conversation with student government ever occurred.”

 

Marzec said that the events over the past few months give protesters more reason to battle against OU administrators. The most recent protest last Friday led to three protesters charged by OUPD with “disrupting a lawful meeting”.

 

“The irresponsible vote made by the BoT today and the BPC on Dec. 8 makes our actions of protest more pertinent than ever.”

 

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