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Members of Ohio University’s Graduate Student Senate meet on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, to discuss university and national matters. (FILE)

Graduate Student Senate approves resolution to make amendments to language in GSS constitution

Graduate Student Senate passed a resolution about a possible constitutional amendment to change the language of the GSS constitution’s mission statement.

It would only change if the amendment is approved by the Board of Trustees. The amendment would represent GSS as the sole representative for graduate and professional students at Ohio University. 

Brett Fredericksen, department representative for environmental and plant biology, said there are two main parts of the resolution, one stating that GSS is the only representative body at OU for graduate and professional students. The other part of the amendment would make the constitution more inclusive to graduate and professional students who want to be involved in GSS but live off campus. 

“(GSS has)been functioning independently and dare I say we’ve been functioning well independently,” Fredericksen said.

In the future, GSS could use the amendment as a tool to have larger conversations surrounding money and its budget. 

Fredericksen said this amendment wouldn’t mean the body will stop collaborating with other student senates on campus it simply means they continue to collaborate but as an independent body. 

“This is a way to institutionalize within university that [GSS] is a group that always need to be represented at the table,” Maria Modayil, GSS president, said.

GSS members passed a resolution condemning Ohio’ s recently passed House Bill 565. The bill is an extension of the Heartbeat Bill recently passed by the Ohio House of Representatives. 

If the bill passed, it would not give special exemptions to women involved in cases of rape or incest and would criminalize women and medical professionals who proceed with abortions after a heartbeat is detected with life in prison or even the death penalty. 

The resolution would allow the body to draft a statement to send out to Ohio public and private schools, Ohio representatives and the appropriate local, regional and national media outlets. 

Rachel Stroup, commissioner for Women’s Affairs, and Gillian McCarren, senator for College of Health and Sciences and Professions, were the co-sponsors on the resolution. 

The body also passed a resolution to draft a statement against the proposed changes in the Title IX regulations. 

Stroup said the regulations would narrow and redefine the Obama administration’s definition of what sexual harassment and sexual assault is. It would also place more protection on those accused of sexual assault rather than the victim.  

Jack Nece, department representative for accountancy, said the proposed regulations would narrow the definition of sexual assault way beyond the extent it should.  

Stroup said that if the proposed changes are passed to Title IX the mental health of sexual assault survivors when they are brought to court is a risk to consider. It also is counterintuitive to the purpose of Title IX, she said.

GSS had a presentation from David Koonce, interim dean of the Graduate College, and Beth Quitslund, interim associate dean of the Graduate College. Koonce and Quitslund discussed the role, history and initiatives of the Graduate College. 

Koonce said the role of the Graduate College is to promote graduate education, coordinate degrees, admissions, and records on students and degrees, and to create a sense of community in graduate student culture. 

Quitslund said the Graduate College is working towards increasing professional development amongst graduate students. 

Another initiative the Graduate College is working towards is collecting data on advising. As of now, the Graduate College doesn’t have a lot of information regarding advising and would like to gather some in hopes of using it to learn how to improve advising. 


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