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Student Senate supports Student Union mock Board of Trustee meeting

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During Wednesday night’s meeting, Student Senate offered their support for a mock Board of Trustees meeting taking place just hours after the actual one.

The mock meeting, titled “The Board: A Dark Comedy with Pizza”, is an Ohio University Student Union event aimed to “dramatize their glamorous and powerful lives as the policy-makers of our university.”

“We want to share these funny jokes with as many people as possible: we think the more students who know about the Board’s tendency to joke with their livelihoods, the more they will want to participate in the joke-telling, thus creating a funnier and more democratic university,” the resolution said. The meeting will use comedy to describe how Student Union feels that the Board does not respect students’ lives, hoping to start a larger conversation out of it.

East Green senator and co-sponsor of the resolution Ryan Powers said the idea of the mock meeting came after President Roderick McDavis and Board of Trustees Secretary Peter Mather said there wouldn’t be a guarantee that the board would vote on a petition brought to them by Student Union. The petition, which got 580 signatures, asked the board to revoke the recent tuition hikes, stop the plans to build a natural gas pipeline under the Hocking River and fully fund the Survivor Advocacy Program.

“We were like, ‘Wow, how democratic. We’ll just have a mock meeting because this is a sham anyways,’” Powers said.

The mock meeting will be held Friday at 5 p.m. in Bentley Hall room 233, while the actual board meeting will be held on the same day at 10 a.m. in the Walter Hall Governance Room.

Senate also approved to sign two joint resolutions with Graduate Student Senate, one on supporting transparency for Ohio Foundation endowment investments and the other on supporting partial health insurance waivers for graduate assistants. Graduate Student Senate president Carl “Eddie” Smith III was in attendance and presented on the resolutions.

Currently, the endowment investments, which “allows donors to transfer their private dollars to public purpose,” according to its website, are not publicly disclosed.

“We should all know what we’re really investing in, what we’re profiting off of, whether they’re ethical investments or not,” Smith said.

Smith also said that while local universities pay for part or all of a graduate assistant’s health insurance, like Kent State University which pays for 70 percent of a graduate student’s health plan. Ohio University only offers $40 a year for their assistants.

Multiple graduate students and one teaching assistant in Senate offered their support for getting graduate students more health insurance waivers.

“Right now, there’s no way I can afford to be an international student and not have loans out in the UK,” University Life commissioner and graduate student Charlotte Bassam-Bowles said. “It’s kind of harsh since it goes under most people’s radars, but I think [graduate] students are just as poor as anyone else. And I do almost as much [work] as someone that gets paid a lot of money to do what I do.”

Senate also passed a resolution to add two questions to the campus-wide ballot in April that are votes of confidence towards the Board of Trustees and “upper-level administration.” This will be on the same ballot as upcoming Student Senate and student trustee candidates.

The questions will be “Do you have confidence in the Ohio University upper-level administration to represent your needs as a student?” and “Do you have confidence in the Ohio University Board of Trustees to represent your needs as a student?” The “upper-level administration” refers to “the president, the vice president, all of the deans and the provost,” according to President Megan Marzec.

There was debate on whether to add a vote of confidence on the underlying structure of Student Senate. However, because the question was proposed during the meeting, they postponed a vote on that to a later date to find a better way to word it.

At the beginning of the meeting, Senate took a minute of silence to observe two students who died during spring break, one of whom was junior sociology and pre-law major Jasmine Crosby.

“I know that these were two individuals that meant a lot to many people on campus and the community as a whole,” Marzec said.

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