Campus Environment Student Senate wants Ohio U to reevaluate planned construction at The Ridges By William Meyer Posted on December 7, 2017 7 min read 0 0 381 Student Senate in Nov. 2017. Photo by Connor Perrett. At its Wednesday night meeting, Student Senate expressed concerns over the sustainability of plans of Ohio U’s plans to renovate The Ridges. Student Senate passed a bill that demands Ohio University assess the sustainability of The Ridges Framework Plan at its weekly meeting Wednesday night. Senate also addressed reforming campaign and election procedures. Bill 1718-11 calls for an environmental assessment be conducted prior to planning for construction at The Ridges. It also requests that locally provided construction be used to support the Athens community, and that a strategic plan is formed regarding the Ridges’ Tier 2 land, or land southeast of the Dairy Lane Corridor and defined by Blackburn Road. A survey of 518 students conducted by the Environmental Affairs Commission showed that 50.58 percent of students are aware of possible construction in The Ridges. The commission is concerned the university’s plan is not visible enough for students. Of those surveyed, 53.47 percent (277) students either somewhat or strongly agreed that they care that The Ridges may be under construction in the future. The Environmental Affairs Commission expressed concern in Ohio U’s ability to meet the Climate Action Plan’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Benchmark, which seeks to reduce construction-produced waste going to landfill by 25 percent by 2018 as well as the potential impact on Ohio U’s long-term goal of being carbon neutral by 2075. Student Senate also reevaluated their own procedures during the meeting, focusing on campaign rules. Senate discussed Resolutions 1718-102 and 1718-98, which directly affect the ability for aspiring student senators to run for an election. Chapter 13.07, Sections E and F of the Student Senate Rules and Procedures requires 25 in-ink signatures from students seeking a non-executive office; students running for an executive office require 75 signatures. Resolution 1718-102 states that the current amount of signatures required are not following the rule’s intent—to achieve legitimacy as a candidate by spreading ideas with other students—and seeks to double both signature requirements to 50 and 150, respectively. The passage of Resolution 1718-102 is in limbo after a discussion closed to the press was held on whether abstentions should count as votes. Conversely, Resolution 1718-98 states that the signature requirement conflicts with a rule that states that no candidate can campaign prior to the active campaign period, and the signature requirement should be nullified. The resolution failed to pass. Resolution 1718-100, after much debate, passed. The resolution changes election periods for student senate from two days to one, with election periods starting at 7 a.m. on the Tuesday of the 12th week of spring semester and ending at 7 p.m. that same day. Previously, elections began on the Monday or Tuesday of the 12th week of spring semester at 8 a.m., and ended at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Dean of students Jenny Hall-Jones stated that having an extra day for voting did not change results of the election, and supported the passage of Resolution 1718-100. “Expanding the voting period to two days, in my opinion, did nothing,” Jones said. “I’m the only person who is allowed to look at the results while it’s going, and the results are always the same at the end of the first day and the next day—there is never a change.” The most prominent issue some senators had with the passage of resolution 1718-100 was the potential to disenfranchise voters who may be either too busy to vote on one day or may have simply forgotten to vote. “Any student who is disenfranchised with their vote is relevant, even if it’s one or two students,” Vice Commissioner Jess Keller said. “I think that voting for this resolution would infringe on that.” Ohio U Student Trustees Brooke Mauro and Faith Voinovich gave a presentation stating Ohio U is: Down 24 percent in conduct cases over past 4 years Down 21 percent in low level alcohol violations Down 25 percent in marijuana related charges Up 28 percent in damage to property charges Other notable happenings Resolution 1718-101 passed, reclassifying On-Campus Senators as Residence Life Senators. President Lama reported that incoming freshman may expect an increase in culinary, housing and tuition expenditure.