Student Senate focused Wednesday on discussing diversity and inclusion and passed a bill opposing the proposed budget cuts for the Center for Law, Justice and Culture.
Two presentations were shared during the meeting. One focused on the Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan being implemented by the university, presented by two representatives from the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at Ohio University. The other presentation was on inclusivity and was presented by members of Senate.
The Division of Diversity and Inclusion’s presentation focused on why diversity and inclusion is important at universities and action items for the Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan.
“Ohio aspires to build an intentional culture of inclusion, impact retention and address achievement gaps to create an enriching academic experience through curricular and co-curricular offerings,” Duane Bruce, interim assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Access and Retention, said.
Senate Vice President Elizabeth Lilly, Chief of Staff Elaina Tartal and Honors Tutorial College Senator Haley Janoski worked together to make a presentation for students focusing on inclusivity.
The presentation provided inclusivity resources for students on campus, including many different centers for students of diverse backgrounds. Additionally, the importance of both diversity and inclusion was shared.
“Something I want you all to remember is that diversity can exist without inclusion,” Janoski said. “But this is why diversity is not enough. So, constant inclusive practices are imperative, on both the institutional and individual levels.”
A new bill was also passed during the meeting, showing Senate opposition to the proposed budget cuts for the Center for Law, Justice and Culture, or CLJC. Some students shared their reasons for opposing these cuts.
“The decision to make budget cuts to the CLJC is one that would have detrimental effects to an ever-growing program,” Sydney Sears said in a statement read by Senate Treasurer Eliza Ivan. “The program is more than just a program: it’s a family, and I am urging you to keep a support system that hundreds of students in the College of Arts and Sciences utilize every single day.”
A petition has also been created by students in support of keeping funding for the CLJC, and has over 550 signatures as of March 25.
Another bill was introduced in the meeting, demanding that Ohio University accept SNAP benefits at all campus markets. The bill was tabled, however, in order to make it more detailed before it was passed.
A resolution allowing for organizations to submit an appeal to the Senate Appropriations Committee if they believe SAC has made a mistake was also passed by Senate. This is an ability that organizations did not have in the past.
“It’s going to help aid in guidance in unusual situations that occur more than you think they would,” Ivan said. “The appeals process is just going to help a lot of people in the future, and I am really excited about it.”
Semesterly funding applications for student organizations are now open. The deadline for those applications is April 1.
Additionally, a new senator, Kurumi Yamada, was appointed to the International Affairs commission during the meeting.
Jenny Hall-Jones, advisor for Senate, announced commencement details will be released Thursday. She said 3,000 students decided to participate in in-person commencement, which is about 60% of what OU would normally have.
“There will be four commencements all on the weekend,” Hall-Jones said. “You should be getting all that information tomorrow, so that’s exciting.”