Student Senate passed a bill Wednesday that opposes the changes made to Title IX that make it harder to investigate perpetrators of sexual assault at colleges and in the K-12 education system.
The changes alter the definition of sexual assault to an unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity, according to the bill.
Student Senate opposes the changes to Title IX because it requires Ohio University to ignore off-campus activity and online harassment.
The changes make sexual assault survivors responsible for scheduling cases, Sarah Dillinger, vice commissioner for civic engagement and the primary sponsor of the bill, said.
Student Senate also had two presentations at the meeting.
Pete Trentacoste, executive director of Housing and Residence Life, and Jneanne Hacker, director for business operations and conference services, updated Student Senate on projects in the works for Housing and Residence Life.
Hacker presented a plan to recruit more upperclassmen to live on campus because the falling enrollment numbers have affected funding. Registration time for on-campus housing will be aligned with off-campus housing. The registration will open in September for upperclass students, giving them priority selection.
Trentacoste said he doesn’t expect to see thousands of upperclass students live on campus, but a few hundred more would be substantial.
Trentacoste also updated Student Senate on several construction projects. Washington Hall will receive a system that allows for central air instead of window-mounted systems in the next few years, Trentacoste said. In addition, Atkinson and Smith halls will be torn down in the summer.
Housing and Residence Life is focused on spending about $12 million to $15 million each summer, Trentacoste said.
Trantacoste said one of his goals is to eventually make all residence hall rooms unlockable with student IDs, similar to how students unlock doors to access residence halls. The technology isn’t cheap enough yet for it to be cost-efficient, but it could be considered in a few years.
The basketball courts on South Green have received new rims but won’t receive new pavement until Fall Semester. A chilled water pipe will be installed underneath the basketball and volleyball courts in the summer. Construction is being held to avoid tearing up the asphalt twice.
Student Senate also heard from Graduate Student Senate President Maria Modayil.
Modayil spoke about the benefits of having Graduate Student Senate. GSS allows graduate students to interact with each other. That is important because is in graduate school, Modayil said, there is more focus on individual colleges and departments rather than on the university as a whole.
Student Senate President Maddie Sloat said Modayil’s presentation sets a good precedent for presenting at each other’s meetings.
Student Senate passed another bill that would turn off nonessential lights at the university for Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a one-hour event promoted by the World Wildlife Fund in which people turn off lights for one hour on March 30 to show commitment to protecting nature and curbing climate change, according to the bill. One example given was to turn the lights off at the top of Baker Center.
The bill is more for gaining attention than actually helping with climate change, Allison Shryok, environmental affairs commissioner, said.
Student Senate also passed one resolution to purchase of two canvases for International Women’s Day, which cost about $20.