At its Tuesday meeting, Ohio University Graduate Student Senate discussed creating an official stance of GSS.
According to the resolution, “there is a significant and unreconciled overlap in constituencies between the Graduate Student Senate and Student Senate.”
“Both Student Senate and Graduate Student Senate have a constitutional obligation to advocate for graduate students here at Ohio University. Graduate students are caught in the middle of this confusing overlap,” Ian Armstrong, commissioner for Academic Affairs and a sponsor of that resolution, said. “Neither group is wrong, but they’re advocating for two very different constituencies, two constituencies that have entirely different needs.”
Student Senate's Graduate College Senator Ellenore Holbrook brought up how that resolution would affect Student Senate's relationship with GSS if it were to pass.
“If it were to pass, that means there would not be able to be graduate student representation within Student Senate on any level,” Holbrook said. “That’s half a million dollars that you guys would no longer have a say in.”
The resolution had mixed responses from body members. Some felt the resolution would cause tension between the governments of GSS and Student Senate.
“I am very worried about harming our relationship with Student Senate and with other influential organizations who do so much good on this campus,” Christie Thiessen, representative for Department of Psychology, said. “At the same time, I do think that it makes sense that the undergraduate Student Senate and Graduate Student Senate would be two different bodies because we do have different interests … there is a lot of overlap, but there are instances that are very unique.”
Other members were confused as to what brought that resolution up, considering the body had not discussed the issue previously.
“To me, it doesn’t seem like a bad thing to have anyone on our campus looking out for graduate students,” Hanna Brourman, representative for Department of Geological Sciences, said. “We always talk about how underrepresented we are and more collaboration with other people, is that a bad thing?”
Because of the current structure of GSS meetings, non-voting members are not permitted to speak during discussions. That caused Student Senate President Landen Lama to speak out during the discussion.
“I won’t sit here and be allowed for my body to be talked down to, and no one will call on us,” Lama said. “I could answer your question in the corner. I won’t be recognized, but until I am told that I can’t speak by the presiding officer, I think it is very upsetting that I have to sit here, and I can’t defend myself or my body that has been on this campus since the 1940s.”
That resolution was tabled due to lengthy discussion.
The resolution to allow Student Senate members to speak at general body GSS meetings was tabled until more "inclusive language" was added. Thiessen said it would be in everyone’s best interest to "foster collaborative relations."
“This resolution was put forth to allow Student Senate members to have a voice here at GSS,” she said. “This is in the spirit of collaboration and shared governance and mutual respect to allow them to speak at our meetings when it is relevant.”
Body members viewed a presentation from the GSS executives about their goals from the beginning of the year and how they accomplished them. Members also passed five resolutions relating to internal affairs and tabled three.