Home Campus Student Senate denounces explicit Welcome Weekend banners; alleges illegal local towing company practices

Student Senate denounces explicit Welcome Weekend banners; alleges illegal local towing company practices

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Student Senate

Student Senate disgraced sexually explicit banners found on off-campus housing and alleged local towing companies are overcharging customers for services

Student Senate passed a bill Wednesday night denouncing sexually explicit banners hung on off-campus student housing during Welcome Weekend, furthering the body’s effort to combat pervasive sexual assault on campus.

Senators discussed the importance of being leaders when it comes to the issue of sexual assault, which caused Ohio University to face scrutiny in the past year following an influx of sexual assault reports.

“It’s a moral imperative to call out rape culture when we see it,” Adam Boesinger, a sponsor of the bill, said.

Images of the banners — which were included within the bill — circulated widely last week on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

The passage of this bill could help empower students to stand up against rape culture when they see it in Athens, University Life Commissioner Eva Holtkamp said.

“I hope from here that there will be more awareness and more action taken in regard to these banners,” Holtkamp said. “Whether it’s empowering students to go up to these houses — as long as they feel safe — or people taking pictures of them, or people calling code enforcement.”

The Senate intends to forward the bill to university administrators and local news publications to help spread the word about its efforts to curb sexual assault on campus.

The body also passed a bill requesting an audit of towing companies in Athens. Some senators recently alleged local towing companies are overcharging customers for services.

According to the state Public Utilities Commission, towing companies cannot charge customers more than $129, with the exception of two additional fees — a $25 administrative fee and a $17 per day storage fee.

An Athens ordinance, however, states residents can not be charged more than $50 a tow — a substantially lower fee.

“It’s easy to say ‘oh, it’s only $130,’” Boesinger, who sponsored the bill, said. “But $130 is the difference of putting food on the table for families in need, or for students in need of books, potentially buying a textbook and passing a class.”

Boesinger heard horror stories from friends about the towing companies in Athens, he said. 

“I just want to make sure students and residents are treated fairly by the companies,” Boesinger said. “There needs to be some oversight to make sure they are following the laws from the state.”

He hopes to discuss the issue in front of Athens City Council in the future.

Emily Zeiler contributed to this report

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