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Ohio University President Duane Nellis at the Student Senate meeting on Aug. 30, 2017. (FILE)

Student Senate: OU President Nellis discusses student success, sustainability and recent sexual assaults

Ohio University President Duane Nellis presented at the Student Senate meeting Wednesday.

He discussed student success, student engagement and campus sustainability, as well as the recent issues on sexual assault. He said he wants to continue to see graduation rates and the success of students grow. Nellis said retention rates for freshman and sophomore students are about 80 percent. 

“We’re not going to do it in one year,” Nellis said. “But 85 to 90 percent would be much better.”

Nellis would also like to see more corporations and alumni get involved with students, he said. He would like to see more scholarships and internships benefitting from these relationships. 

He also addressed the importance of the university engaging in sustainability.  The university continues to be ranked among the national leaders in sustainability and is ranked No. 23 on the U.S. EPA Green Power partnership. OU is the only university in the state to receive platinum-level recognition in Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence program.

“We have this silver ranking right now,” Maddie Sloat, president of Student Senate, said. “I think that we’re in a good place where the university is really willing to consider a lot of ideas.”

Nellis also discussed bringing compost to campus for students to use in residence halls. However, there have been compliance issues at the compost facility at The Ridges. Materials that contaminate compost bins, such as plastic, have created issues for the facility.

He also addressed the recent issues of sexual assault on campus. He urges students to use the buddy system, look out for each other and report anything inappropriate. 

“We need to band together and do everything collectively to try to change to dynamics of the culture that is occurring at this institution,” Nellis said.

He wants students and the university to be role models for each other and other universities to make a change. 

Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Pina said the university is thinking about the survivors of sexual assault and urged students to know what resources are available. 

Student Senate will have an open forum Thursday from 3-8 p.m in Front Room for students to express their concerns and vote on a safety app.

Student Senate also passed seven resolutions at the meeting. They appointed senators, discussed budget and created a vice commissioner position for Regional Campus Affairs Commission. 

Destiniee Jaram was appointed as a senator to the LGBTQA Affairs Commission. Robyn Heard was appointed as a senator to the Women’s Affairs Commission. Maxeen Ramlo was appointed as a senator to International Affairs Commission. 

Student Senate passed a resolution to prioritize efficiency of the operations of the Committee on the Budget and approved a previously tabled resolution to fund the candy from the Involvement Fair. The resolution was passed to fund Elect Her, a training program meant to urge women to run for elective office.

Student Senate also created a vice commissioner position for the Regional Campus Affairs Commission. The position has yet to be filled.


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