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Student Senate members listen to ideas presented by leaders of Ohio University student organizations during a town hall meeting on Oct. 22. (FILE)

Student Senate: Body passes bill opposing move of OU's LGBT Center into shared space with Multicultural Center

Ohio University’s Student Senate passed a bill to oppose the merging of the space allocated to the university’s LGBT Center and Multicultural Center, or MCC, at its meeting Wednesday night.

There is a plan to move the LGBT Center into a shared space with the MCC on the third floor of Baker Center.

The bill opposes that, saying the university needs to include students in the discussion of the move, especially members of both groups. The decision could affect both communities on campus.

More than 60 students came to the meeting to address their concern with the move, and more than 20 students spoke at the meeting.

The students addressed the necessity for a new space for the LGBT Center but said there was a concern for the clashing of the communities. They also expressed irritation toward the lack of communication with students about the discussion.

“I don’t understand why, to give space to one minority, they have to take from another,” Eden Tadesse, a sophomore studying communication studies, said. “It looks like they are trying to put all of us ‘others’ in one miscellaneous space.”

Taren Holliman, a junior studying journalism, said OU showcases its diversity but forgets the inclusion aspect of their slogan “diversity and inclusion.”

“Our administration isn’t as dedicated to diversity as they say they are,” said Tiffany Anderson, a senior studying women’s gender and sexuality studies.

A copy of the bill will be sent to OU President Duane Nellis, Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina, Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban, Director of the Multicultural Center Winsome Chunnu, interim Director of the LGBT Center Tyrone Carr, Associate Vice President for University Planning Shawna Bolin and Executive Director of Baker Center Dusty Kilgour.

Student Senate also passed a bill to support the expansion of transfer student aid. The bill said current financial aid is disproportionately provided between first-year students and transfer students.

The bill will propose that the university work toward equalizing financial-aid opportunities between traditional and nontraditional incoming student populations.

There was also a bill passed affirming the relationship between Student Senate and the city of Athens. The bill does not change anything; it only confirms the collaboration between Athens and the student government.

There were also four budget resolutions passed by senate. About $390 was allocated to purchase supplies for the senior toast. There was about $76 allocated to purchase supplies for finals fest. There was also $200 allocated to gift cards for academic advising focus groups. There was also about $100 allocated toward purchasing a hotel room for a guest speaker.


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