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Student Senate votes to continue representing all students

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Student Senate meeting Wednesday evening. Photo by Zach Richards.

Student Senate discussed their relationship with Graduate Student Senate and passed multiple resolutions at their meeting Wednesday.

Student Senate failed to enact a resolution that, if passed, would have officially separated Student Senate from Graduate Student Senate.

Resolution 1819-103, subtitled “a resolution to change the constituency of Student Senate,” would change Student Senate’s constituency to represent only undergraduate students. Currently, Student Senate represents all students.

If passed, this resolution would have left Graduate Student Senate as the sole representative body for graduate students. It failed to pass after a lengthy discussion, with only one vote in favor of the resolution.

Student senators cited concerns about the necessity of the separation, noting that Student Senate already does work for graduate students and that graduate students can serve in multiple positions within Student Senate.

International Affairs Commissioner Amal Afyouni voiced her opposition to the proposed split.

“Our bills, our resolutions, our programming, our events, our collaborations apply to every single student at Ohio University and the Athens main campus,” Afyouni said. “For Graduate Student to come multiple times and in multiple years since I’ve been in this body for three and a half years and tell us that we don’t represent them is, quite frankly, a slap in the face to a lot of what we do.”

Senator Emeritus for Graduate Student Senate Daniel Williams was present at the meeting to voice Graduate Student Senates support for the resolution.

Williams also advocated for the resolution and its necessity during the discussion.

“Graduate Student Senate addresses different issues than Student Senate, because graduate students deal with different issues than undergraduates do,” Williams said.

“We face different issues in our daily lives, we have different goals. Graduate students are teaching classes that undergraduates are in; we have different issues.”

After the resolution failed to pass, Student Senate passed Senate bill 1819-16, which publicly reaffirms Graduate Student Senate’s representation of graduate students, but does not change how the two senates currently operate.

After the meeting, Student Senate President Maddie Sloat described how the possible separation has affected the relationship between the two senates.

“As expressed by our body, there are numerous issues that our bodies could be collaborating on,” Sloat said. “And because we have kind of been in the air on what Student Senate’s stance on this was, we haven’t really been able to actually collaborate together.”

Student Senate passed various other resolutions and bills, including one that would use funds from the experiential learning fee to fund SAC.

Senate also passed a resolution that would change how their constitution is amended. Under the current system, Student Senate must first pass a constitutional change, then the student body must vote on it and approve it, and finally, the Board of Trustees must approve it. The passed resolution would remove the Board of Trustees from the process.

Additionally, Student Senate heard from Chief Facilities Officer Steve Wood. Wood discussed ongoing facility projects, concerns, costs, and the Richland Avenue Bridge project, which has been delayed until March 2020.

Senate also heard from the Director of Community Standards and Responsibility Taylor Tackett. Tackett presented multiple possible changes to the student code of conduct that would change how sexual misconduct and group adjudication hearings are conducted.

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