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Maria Modayil, president of Graduate Student Senate, speaks to senate members on Jan. 23. (FILE)

Graduate Student Senate: Two executive members step down; body discusses funding issues

The Ohio University Graduate Student Senate appointed five new members into its general body Tuesday during its second meeting of the semester. However, two executive members stepped out of their current positions in GSS. 

Those members were Vice President for Finance Kevin Pomorski and Vice President for Legislative Affairs Christopher Meyer, who both stepped down for personal and academic reasons.

GSS was also joined by recently appointed Assistant Dean of Students Kathy Fahl. 

“(The) Division of Student Affairs restructured the position that I am in now to really focus on this issue of basic needs,” Fahl said. “So I wanted to make sure you were all aware of what is going on and look for ways that we might down the road partner with the Graduate Student Senate.”

Fahl focused her presentation to GSS on the food pantry in Baker Center, as well as on microgrants the university is hoping to provide to students in need. 

“This is an initiative that was started about a year ago, because staff and students recognize there are some students on our campus that don’t have enough to eat,” Fahl said.

After Fahl’s presentation, members of GSS talked about their finances and the recent issue they have had with a depletion in their account balance. Pomorski discussed his meeting with the budget manager for the Graduate College regarding the body’s negative account balance. 

Pomorski said the money will eventually roll over back into their account.

“I know the budget crisis is real,” GSS President Maria Modayil said. 

Senator for the College of Fine Arts Sam Smith spoke out about recent issues the School of Art and Design has had with their own account balance.

While the school has also seen a depletion in their account balance as well, they had other concerns they needed to address with GSS, including the recent move from their original studios at The Ridges into Weld House on South Green. 

Smith said the college was forced out of its original studios and into Weld House, and, despite their hours being recorded, they were given no compensation for their time. They also were forced to move their equipment by themselves. 

In addition to this, Smith also reported that they had six galleries set up in their previous building. After they were forced to take them down in the move, they were offered no help in rebuilding the galleries. 

The building the college moved into has also been accessed from people outside of the college recently, including ”random people” and custodial staff, who Smith said come in to watch the TV in Weld. 

“Graduate students are not being compensated for their time and efforts.” Smith said. 

During her report, Modayil discussed ongoing discussions about student health insurance. 

“We are just starting conversations on what the health insurance should look like,” Modayil said. “In the process of asking for more subsidies we figured out that Ohio University has one of the best policies for health insurance.” 

Modayil said despite the university having one of the best policies, some students wish it came at a lower cost. 


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