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Graduate Student Senate supports bill to protect LGBT individuals

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The Ohio House Bill would make sexual orientation, gender identity or expression protected classes in Ohio.

Graduate Student Senate voted Tuesday night to endorse House Bill 160, which makes sexual orientation, gender identity or expression protected classes. President Nellis previously announced support for the bill.

“We were surprised there was not language like this already in Ohio’s constitution,” President Maria Modayil said. “Although our university already has language around this, this is not something that is statewide.”

House Bill 160 was introduced in March of 2017 by primary sponsor Rep. Nickie Antonio. According to Modayil, President Nellis is writing a letter of support for the bill.

“I am happy to support this resolution for, not only members of the OU community, but also for all Ohioans that might benefit from this legislation,” Rep. Maria Funcheon said.

The resolution passed unanimously.

GSS also passed a resolution to recognize the second week of April as Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, acknowledging President Nellis’ recognition of graduate student life as a “strategic priority for the university.”

“This is something that has been done in a lot of institutions recently just to recognize graduate students and their work, teaching and research efforts,” Modayil said.

GSS hopes to collaborate with other campus organizations to recognize graduate student efforts at the 2018 Student Expo, which also falls on the second week of April.

The body also unanimously passed a resolution to approve an election application. This application allows graduate students to apply for a position within GSS.

“This application, if not the same as last year, worked really well,” Alec Koondel, Vice President for Finance, said.

The application is open until March 23.

In other business:

  1. GSS passed a resolution to budget $500 for the Appalachia Rising Service Immersion Trip, an alternative spring break option
  2. The body resolved to budget $724.44 for the Women In Grad School Conference.
  3. Board of Trustee student representative Faith Voinovich discussed updates that affect graduate students
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