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Student Senate discusses SAP, makes changes to the senate election process

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Jenny Hall-Jones visited Student Senate on Wednesday to address the Survivor Advocacy Program after its recent suspension following the resignation of its program coordinator.

Hall-Jones, the dean of students and interim vice president of student affairs, was joined by Shari Clarke, the vice provost for diversity and inclusion, and Alicia Chavira-Prado, the special assistant to the vice provost.

“Let us just lay to rest the idea that we are not committed to SAP, because we are committed to it,” Chavira-Prado said. “We are trying very hard to establish services for our survivors.”

With the departure of the previous program coordinator, Clarke and others have been left with the task of finding a replacement. The program coordinator must have a counseling license to maintain confidentiality, making it a difficult position to fill.

Chavira-Prado maintained that the program would return, saying they hoped to re-establish the program as soon as the position could be filled. An interim position has been created, but the application for the job is not currently “getting the response we had hoped,” Clarke said.

According to Chavira-Prado, 13 interviews have been conducted so far, but none of them panned out.

Explaining why the program was temporarily suspended, Hall-Jones emphasized the importance of having a licensed instructor who could guarantee assistance.

“The last thing you want is (for survivors) to run into somebody that says ‘I can’t help you,'” Hall-Jones said. “It would be better to have a closed door and temporarily shut down the program, than have someone who can’t really help.”

Jack Davies, Honors Tutorial College senator, questioned the timetable for when students might expect to see the position filled. Clarke responded by saying that the interim position would last through next semester. Moving forward from there, Clarke hopes to have a permanent position filled by next academic year.

“This [interim break] will give the university a chance to look at SAP,” Clarke said.

Hall-Jones extended the response by saying the process could not be rushed.

“The reality could be, if we don’t have any applications, we’ll have to extend [the application process],” Hall-Jones said. “This is not a quick process. Best case scenario, if we were really lucky, we are looking at February or March (for an interim coordinator to re-open SAP).”

Several Senators brought up communication as a problem, suggesting that many students may not even be aware that SAP has been suspended. Hall-Jones responded by stressing the importance of communication across campus, and requesting senators to spread the word that survivors should go to Counseling and Psychology Services at the Hudson Health Center in the time being.

“Please know we want to work with you,” Clarke told the senate. “We are here for all of our students. Our thoughts are first and foremost with the survivors. We are very dedicated to the well-being of Ohio University students.”

Following the discussion with administrators, senators moved to discuss resolutions tabled from last week.

Resolutions were also passed at the meeting, establishing new contribution limits from individual donors and student organizations and new limits to campaign spending.

Another resolution that passed will require those campaigning to report contributions and expenditures to the Board of Elections on a weekly basis. Last year’s rules required the reports to be sent after campaigning had finished.

The final resolution to pass established a timeline for the campaign process, which will now begin during week 4 of spring semester and end week 12.

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