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Graduate Student Senate asserts its independence from Student Senate

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The Board of Trustees approved a Student Senate constitutional amendment, giving them more authority. Here’s how Graduate Student Senate responded.

Graduate Student Senate (GSS) enacted a resolution Tuesday to reassert their independence from Student Senate.

The Board of Trustees approved a Student Senate resolution allowing the senate to change its constitution without approval from the Ohio University Board of Trustees at the board’s meeting last Friday.

However, the resolution from Student Senate claims the group represents all students, when it really only represent undergraduate students, according to GSS president Maria Modayil.

Modayil and senator Brett Fredericksen proposed a resolution in response to Student Senate’s resolution to confirm the independence of GSS and invited Student Senate executives to meet with members of GSS.

Modayil claimed the interaction leading up to the Board of Trustees approval was limited in scope.

“We’re not sure of the procedural part of it,” Modayil said. “We were not solicited far as I know.”

One of GSS’s concerns about the Student Senate resolution is the uncertainty of jurisdiction.

“It is unclear how this amendment will, if at all, affect GSS or graduate students more widely,” Fredericksen said. “No GSS member, executive or body member that I’m aware of was consulted in the passing or drafting of this amendment.”

Maddie Sloat, president of Student Senate, said the intention of their resolution is not meant to undermine the independence of Graduate Student Senate, but rather empower the student body.

“This action does not impact Graduate Student Senate,” Sloat said in an email. “As we have stated previously, we encourage Graduate Student Senate to accept the opportunities we have provided to have a dialogue about the issues relating to our constituencies, and in the meantime will continue our work as representatives of the student body.”

Candidates for the GSS executive positions also addressed the body to advocate for their election to an executive position. Senators Frederickson, Michael Senteney, and Dareen Tadros are running for GSS president. Frederickson and Senteney are also running for vice president of finance. Senators Linford Frimpong and Samantha Stewart are running for vice president of communications.

GSS also enacted a resolution to combine the different vice presidential positions into a single vice president position.

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