Ohio University Student Senate passed a bill Wednesday demanding that OU accept more responsibility for the mental health needs of student athletes.

The bill requests the formation of a conference committee, backed by OU Counseling and Psychological Services, that would discuss ways to implement specialized mental health support resources for OU athletes. 

“Anyone considering suicide is an immediate danger,” primary sponsor of the bill and Athletic Senator Emily Deering said.  “Mental health should be accessible, specialized and ongoing.”

The bill cites data from a survey conducted by the university’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which states that 98 percent of student athletes at OU believe “one or more of their teammates could benefit from access to a Sports Psychologist.” 

Senate passed a bill expressing support for Housing and Residence Life’s expansion of gender neutral housing. Starting in the fall, OU Housing will launch a pilot program that will add 10 gender neutral spaces in Boyd Hall and six to eight suites in the newer residence halls on South Green.

Housing also plans to renovate restrooms in both Bryan and Pickering halls to make them single-use and single-stall, according to the bill.

The only gender neutral housing that exists now is on one floor of Smith House, located in the back of South Green.

While the bill that aimed to express support for the tax exemption of college textbooks failed, a similar bill requesting that OU enter into partnerships with textbook publishers that support college affordability passed. 

Part of the bill asks OU Faculty Senate to enact rules in its handbook that would outline procedures for how faculty members should interact with textbook publishers. The university currently allows departments to specifically handle their own textbook regulations, and this bill seeks to create a more centralized policy. 

Senate passed four resolutions amending sections of its constitution. One resolution to add a “Conduct and Ethics” section to the constitution, which would hold Senate members to higher standards of professionalism, was tabled. 

A resolution to rent the Walter Rotunda for the upcoming Student Senate election, as well as resolutions to update the duties of the Women’s Affairs commission and to purchase pizza for an International Affairs Commission event all passed. 



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