Ohio University Student Senate convened Wednesday night to pass a handful of resolutions, but the agenda was quickly expanded to include the topic of the Roger E. Ailes Newsroom.
While the agenda was originally set to address the appointments of several individuals to various committees and commissions, Tuesday’s decision by OU’s Graduate Student Senate to propose the removal of Ailes’ name from WOUB’s newsroom sparked a discussion on the Senate floor.
“I feel as student representatives that we need to have a conversation (regarding the name of the newsroom),” Student Senate President Hannah Clouser said while addressing the floor.
The Roger E. Ailes Newsroom was dedicated to OU alumnus Ailes, as a result of a $500,000 donation he made to the university in 2007.
There have been more than 20 sexual harassment allegations made against Ailes, the former Fox News chairman and CEO.
Following a lengthy discussion, the dialogue transitioned to possible names for the facility if a decision is reached to remove his name. Numerous senators proposed the idea of naming the space in honor of an advocate of sexual assault or harassment survivors.
“The renaming process may be more difficult than students perceive,” SAC Commissioner Ellenore Holbrook said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the university is resistant.”
She also voiced her concern over the possibility that OU would rename the space after a “random” alumni.
“I implore you, do not let this die,” Student Senate Vice President Courteney Muhl said.
In her presidential report, Clouser spoke of a meeting including herself, OU President McDavis and Provost Pam Benoit where the discussion centered around the bias incident reporting system, where students can anonymously report incidents that make them feel unsafe.
Sharing her concern about lack of campus knowledge of the system, Clouser encouraged senate to brainstorm ideas to increase awareness of the resource.
Student Trustees Patrick Roden and Brooke Mauro also presented an overview of the progress and undertakings regarding the Board of Trustees.
While Mauro highlighted the two percent increase in first-year retention of students, the conversation quickly turned to the proposed academic center for student-athletes, the Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center.
In February, The Post reported $5.66 million had been raised for the Sook Center.
Roden said the Sook Center is to be completely funded by private donations. However, Clouser questioned him on the $100,000 being allocated to the center’s bathrooms by the university, which Roden explained would be available for public use.
Kelley Zebrowski was appointed chair of the Committee on Community and Social Activity, Wasseem Sokkarie was appointed delegate on the International Affairs Commission, Chelsea Henry was appointed as delegate for the LGBTQA Affairs Commission, and Sarah Pinter was appointed as the environmental affairs commissioner during the meeting.
Other resolutions passed at Wednesday’s meeting also saw the appointment of several other staffers.