Student Senate raised concerns Wednesday about Kaitlin Bennett’s presence on campus and what actions will the university take if she returns.
When Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones was asked if Bennett, also known as the “Kent State Gun Girl,” would be allowed to open-carry guns on campus, she said yes. Since Ohio is an open-carry state, Bennett is allowed to open-carry on a public institution, according to Ohio open-carry laws.
“I will absolutely be returning to @ohiou’s campus again, and next time I’ll bring an army of gun owners for an open carry walk through campus. You can’t keep us away and you can’t keep us silent. Just like Donald Trump, we will always win,” Bennett tweeted Feb. 17 after leaving the university.
Senate is thinking of ideas to keep fear down in case Bennett returns. The ideas include silent protests, using counseling services and creating a panel where administration and students would be able to air grievances in a more civil and educational way.
Also at Senate, international graduate students voiced their concerns about increasing health insurance rates and what the university will do to ease their worries.
Mary Magdalene Chumbow, a media arts first-year Ph.D. student, voiced her grievances with how the university is handling this conversation.
“Our problem is with the university,” Chumbow said.
Health insurance rates have been steadily rising each year at the university. For the 2017-2018 year, the cost of health insurance provided by UnitedHealthcare, was approximately $990 per semester after subsidies and is paid through four installments. In the 2018-2019 academic year, insurance increased 29%, Chumbow said.
“It is personal to us because we are the ones who are suffering. What other options can Ohio University offer us?” Chumbow said.
Musa Dampha, a Ph.D. student in the school of media arts and studies, is afraid of the future of the university if things don’t change soon.
“OU is known for diversity,” Dampha said. “My fear is OU will lose in this internal diversity we have.”
Chumbow, like other international graduate students, aren’t allowed to work over 20 hours a week, according to federal law.
“This is not enough to live on,” Chumbow said.
Until then, Chumbow’s concerns are still alive and well.
“We all have different experiences,” Chumbow said. “But we’re all here for this. We are all suffering.”