Home Politics Student senators express opposition to Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act, pass more electoral reform

Student senators express opposition to Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act, pass more electoral reform

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Student Senate President Gabby Bacha looked for the opinion of other senators Wednesday when determining her stance on the Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act.

Both acts provide more protection in the form of due process to alleged sexual assaulters, but the Safe Campus Act also prevents colleges from investigating sexual assault unless the victim also reports the incident to law enforcement.

Bacha was asked to express opposition to both acts, but she said she wanted to discuss her official stance with fellow senators before making a statement. Senators seemed to resoundly agree and support Bacha’s potential opposition to the acts, and Bacha expressed her gratitude for their support.

Bacha also showed a brief video presentation of Texts.com, a web-based program she hopes to integrate into Ohio University.

The website aims to make buying and selling textbooks easier and more cost efficient for students, allowing them to buy and sell textbooks to each other. Texts.com is free for students as well as student organizations and is currently being utilized by over 50 universities across the nation.

Bacha’s goal is to implement Texts at the Athens campus, and she believes this could be a useful tool for branch campuses as well.

“You have to think they probably don’t have access to a Court Street full of bookstores,” Bacha said.

Bacha stressed the importance of senators spreading the word of this new tool to other students.

“This will only be as successful as the market we have,” Bacha said. “If we only have 20 students signed up, we will not have the number of resources as it would if 2,000 students signed up.

“This will be rolling out very, very, very soon,” Bacha said. “I want you guys to get excited about it and get signed up.”

Senate also adopted six resolutions during their meeting. As in the past few meetings, several focused on next semester’s Senate elections. They were the last of a series of resolutions made by the elections committee over the past weeks.

Resolutions 63 and 71 addressed in-kind donations, limiting them to values of $25 per candidate, and added in-kind donations to the total spending cap of a student’s campaign, respectively. Both resolutions passed.

Resolution 70 changed wording in all Senate election processes from ‘party’ to reflect the new ‘ticket’ format.

“This is really just political jargon,” said Environmental Affairs Commissioner Logan Stark. “We don’t run a party system; we run on a ticket. This resolution will reflect that.”

Resolution 72 attempted to rework a previous resolution that didn’t pass because it did not achieve the required two-thirds of the Senate’s approval. Changes added to Resolution 72 include the addition of slates. A slate would be composed of senators running for the same Senate position between residential, academic or off-campus senators. Students would still be allowed to run independently. Students running for residential life senator positions could run together in a slate, for example. It is considered to be a way to bridge the gap between independent candidates and those running on a ticket.

“We went back to the drawing board and made this resolution,” said Landen Lama, Director of University Relations and head of the Election Committee. “We feel that it is a good compromise.”

Many senators argued that the resolution would only complicate the election, a process that already had a tendency to irritate the student body in the past.

“Honestly, people don’t really care that much,” said Black Affairs Commissioner Brittany Mitchell.

Other senators argued that irritating the student body shouldn’t deter future reform.

“I share all of the same concerns that have been voiced here about the apathy of the student body and how this could potentially be a very overwhelming elections process,” said Health Science and Professions senator Courteney Muhl. “But I think no matter which one of these resolutions has come up, it’s been our main concern. We always bounce back to the apathy of the student body. I think whatever we decide to do, that’s going to be an obstacle that we’re faced with.”

Bacha added her own opinion into the discussion.

“I think it could be really beneficial. We’re always going to be concerned about the things that we don’t know,” Bacha said. “I would just hope that we don’t let that be the only barrier to keep us from trying something else out.”

While the resolution once again received a majority vote from those in attendance in favor, Senate did not reach a two-thirds majority of senators, and it failed.

Resolution 69, which passed, proposed that Ohio University student senators write a letter of support to the OU NAACP chapter and called for increased recruitment of black students and faculty, as well as increased involvement from the black community in leadership positions at Ohio University such as learning community leaders, tutors and tour guides.

“82 percent of respondents believe racism still exists on Ohio University’s campus, and 98 percent of black respondents believe racism still exists on Ohio University’s campus,” Alexis Apparicio said of a survey conducted by the NAACP over two days.

“This resolution is an attempt to make black students feel more safe and welcome at our campus,” Apparicio said. “We don’t want another situation like the one at the University of Missouri to happen on this campus, so we want to be proactive in our effort of recruiting black students, recruiting black faculty to support those students, and creating a support system for those black faculty members.”

Resolution 74 looked to purchase a budget management system for Ohio University student organizations and the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC). The system aims at allowing for increased transparency and communication between organizations and Senate, but will cost SAC approximately $5,500 annually. Resolution 74 confirms the purchase of the system for the next three years.

“This is really, really, exciting for SAC,” said Treasurer Hannah Clouser. “You guys probably don’t realize it, but this is just so awesome.”

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