Editors’ Note: This story has been updated to include additional information about a resolution passed at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Ohio University Graduate Student Senate voted Tuesday to propose the removal of Roger Ailes’ name from a WOUB newsroom.
Before the vote, Sarah Grace, the Democratic candidate for Ohio's 94th District, presented in front of the GSS body and voiced her support to remove the former Fox News chairman and CEO’s name from the newsroom.
“I’m furious that so many women have been victimized just in their efforts of trying to work in this predatory environment,” Grace, an OU alumna, said.
The Roger E. Ailes Newsroom was dedicated to Ailes, an OU alumnus, as a result of a $500,000 donation he made to the university in 2007.
However, in light of more than 20 sexual harassment allegations made against Ailes, Grace spoke during OU’s first GSS meeting of the academic year in favor of removing the name to better reflect the university’s current values.
“It saddens me that my university, my alma mater, the school that I love has any part in that history,” Grace said. “It pains me to know that my daughters will inevitably face the challenges of being young women in a country where there is a lingering notion that how they look matters more than what they think.”
Ailes stepped down from his position at Fox in July in response to the allegations that followed former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson’s precursory suit, which was settled Tuesday for $20 million.
Members of GSS weren't certain if OU is legally bound to keep the name, but they moved without debate to request the university remove Ailes’ name from the building.
Several GSS members said they want to rename the newsroom to avoid condoning what Women’s Affairs Commissioner Colleen Carman called Ailes’ “distasteful actions.”
No new name has been proposed; however, Grace said the removal of Ailes’ name should be a step toward “promoting equity and safety” on campus.
On Wednesday after the GSS meeting, the executives sent letters to OU President Roderick McDavis, Trustee Chair David Wolfort, WOUB Director Tom Hodson and Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth explaining the resolution and their concern with the building’s current name.
After moving to fix a handful of grammatical and technical errors in GSS' rules and procedures, Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ken Ward stood up and announced his resignation.
Upon resigning, Ward said he was “extremely excited about this position … but sort of unique scheduling conflicts have come up, as well.”
His former position will be open effective Tuesday evening.
GSS plans to hire internally, meaning the job will be appointed to someone who has already been approved for another position in GSS. However, if there is no success with the internal hiring process, the body will open the position to all graduate students.
Ward spoke of the level of dedication required to be on GSS.
“It is somewhat of a remarkable time commitment to be a part of the council,” he said. “There is a difference between doing it and doing it right. If you want to carry out all of the duties required for this position, it requires at least ten hours per week.”
Duties involve rules and procedures and bringing together members of the general body for votes, as summarized by GSS President Ian Armstrong, who said qualified and interested candidates should email him by Friday.