Ohio University Student Senate passed four resolutions and one bill at its Wednesday night meeting. The bill passed serves as a statement of opposition to proposed changes with the passing of the national Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Those changes would remove federal tax breaks that are currently on graduate student stipends.
The State of the Senate address was presented at the start of the meeting which discussed the current achievements and goals of the body. Student Senate Vice President Nicole Schneider highlighted accomplishments such as the implementation of the “Take a Tampon, Leave a Tampon” program and provided updates on current senate projects such as enacting a 24-hour bus service that would run from Uptown to lower residential greens.
Student Senate President Landen Lama spoke further on revising current university transportation noting the importance of “asking how the current system can be updated.” Also mentioned was that 24-hour transportation services will lower the risk of assault on campus by providing alternatives to walking alone.
A bill asking OU to no longer require international students to purchase university health insurance was tabled indefinitely after lengthy discussion. Graduate College Senator Ellenore Holbrook described the legislation as “a long-term goal.”
Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones addressed concerns noting that domestic students are only permitted to waive university health insurance if they are covered under another policy. Interim Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina added that the university has been exploring ways to address that concern.
Of the four resolutions passed, one appointed the current Governmental Affairs Vice-Commissioner for State and Federal Affairs Nathan Horton to an additional position as senator on the Off-Campus Commision.
The decision on whether to pay for the business cards that Students Defending Students (SDS) purchased was resolved from the previous week’s meeting. Although not without debate, the body voted to pay for the cards instead of making it an out-of-pocket expense for members of SDS.
Also passed was a resolution to revise the outlined procedures for Student Senate elections. That was followed by legislation aiming to establish an interim vice-commissioner appointment process. Both resolutions were decided with little discussion.