My name is Amie Musselman and I serve as the Chief of Staff for Graduate Student Senate (GSS). While I am a first-year master’s student, I’ve been a part of Ohio University for five years, obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the institution in 2018. 

My undergraduate and graduate career indeed share the same physical landscape yet reside in different contexts. I am faced with concerns that I did not encounter as an undergraduate, spending additional conscious time and effort on finances, mental health and professionalism. Covering college expenses is one thing, let alone living expenses, while free time is a compromise of adequate self-care for additional training and skill development. Not only do I have to worry about my own academic success, but that of my students because I serve as a teaching assistant: a new facet of responsibility. Such compounding issues intensify when navigating the imposter-syndrome and feeling siloed. Establishing credibility can be difficult when I am not that far in age from my students. Moreover, with a deeper investigation and focus on a topic, I don’t typically interact with individuals from other disciplines. 

These concerns further showcase GSS’ role as a representative body, gathering and advocating for individuals from various fields and positionalities. It acknowledges the liminal space of student and quasi-faculty as well as the tension between such roles, safeguarding against conflicts of interest. 

Both Student Senate and Graduate Student Senate are significant entities of support for Ohio University students. However, the current structure undermines GSS’ legitimacy and fails to recognize the varying duties of undergraduate and graduate-professional students. It is imperative that GSS becomes an autonomous body, serving graduate-professional students more efficiently to improve the Bobcat community. 

My story is just one of over 6,000. I highly encourage you to support GSS in becoming an independent body through a petition.

Amie Mussleman is a first-year graduate student studying critical studies in educational foundations.