Ohio University Graduate Student Senate voted in favor of a resolution created in response to the arrests of 70 people who were protesting in Baker Center on Feb. 1.
The resolution asks the university to drop all charges, that no student would have to appear before the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility in relation to the arrests and that university officials hold a public forum where they can answer questions students have.
“Instead of trying to navigate this peaceful protest and ask the protesters for their demands, our university backed down,” Fatma Jabbari, international affairs commissioner, said. “This, as far as I am concerned, sets a very dangerous precedent because we know this kind of protest at this university happened before, but then we chose other channels to mediate those protests.”
GSS members said the resolution was similar to one Faculty Senate passed at its meeting Monday night. The GSS body approved their resolution with four abstentions.
Additionally, GSS approved a resolution that will request official updates from several university offices on the concrete steps being taken to support the international student community. The resolution states that the first of the updates should be sent to the entire university by Feb. 13 and will continue weekly “until the situation is resolved.”
“We thought that this is important for GSS as a legal student body to do this because we want the university to update every member on what’s going on,” Bahman Shahri, department representative for teacher education, said.
Members said it is important to make sure everyone knows what university officials are doing to help international students in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
The resolution requests updates from the Offices of the President, the Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, and the Vice President for Student Affairs.
GSS also approved a resolution to have the executive council sign a statement opposing the immigration ban. The statement will be signed by several student governments from around Ohio, and then be sent to state politicians Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Gov. John Kasich and all Ohio Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Additionally, the statement will be sent to several university officials including Board of Trustees Chair David Wolfort, Secretary to the Board of Trustees David Moore, OU President Roderick McDavis, Interim President David Descutner and Director of Government Relations Eric Burchard.
“This is one of many avenues we have to make our voice heard,” Chris Glick, representative for department of political science, said. “We are not alone in this fight and we’re going to keep fighting it I think.”
GSS President Ian Armstrong said the statement already has support from about seven student government organizations from around the state. The body is also working with Student Senate to gain signatures on the statement.
Additionally, GSS appointed three new members and approved working on a joint resolution with Student Senate for an increased General Fee buydown for graduate assistants, teaching assistants and others within assistantship.
They also approved to amend the budget rules and procedures to have an audit process to prove how money given out to student organizations is spent, and GSS tabled two resolutions until they get more information.