Ohio University Student Senate passed several resolutions and two bills Wednesday night, including one demanding the university make revisions to the interim “Freedom of Expression” policy.
Of the resolutions passed, two appointed new members to the senate. The Residence Life and the Women’s Affairs Commissions have newly appointed senators selected to help provide a voice to each of the groups. Eva Holtkamp will serve as a West Green Senator, and Clancy Thomas was appointed to serve as a Women’s Affairs Senator.
Interim Vice President and Provost David Descutner addressed Student Senate to touch upon several topics including the improved Academic Achievement Center, which opened earlier this year. Descutner described that accomplishment as a “landmark achievement for (the) university.”
The most-discussed items of the night where the bills for “Freedom of Expression” and the formal acceptance of Duane Nellis as OU’s 21st president.
Center for International Studies Senator Zach Reizes was the main sponsor of the bill and was also one of the first to address the senate.
“I believe that the tone we struck is really good. It hit on the safety of students,” he said.
That led the discussion to further clarify that the bill was intended to outline the consequences and enforcement that the university will uphold during student demonstrations.
Senate President Landen Lama furthered that idea.
“We want the university to be more up front,” he said.
The bill is a response to an interim policy recently enacted by the university that bans demonstrations, sit-ins, speeches and more inside university buildings. Although some would like no policy at all, SAC Senator At-Large Niaree Williams commented that “there is going to be a policy whether we like it or not.”
Following the passage of the “Freedom of Expression” bill was the bill to accept Nellis as president of OU. Lama described the bill as a “vote of confidence” for the new head administrator. Welcoming a new university president in that call to action manner is a first for any Student Senate in OU history.