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Members of the Student Senate gather in Walter Hall.

Student Senate: Athens fire chief introduces $50 student fee proposal

Correction appended.

Athens Fire Chief Robert Rymer presented to Student Senate on Wednesday evening, summarizing the fire department’s annual report and discussing current needs. 

Rymer also introduced the idea of a $50 student fee for OU students to support the fire department’s services and expanded fire safety education. 

He described the minimal resources that the fire department is currently operating under and the resulting issues, namely understaffing. Staffing recommendations suggest at least 15 firefighters respond to a single-family, two-story residential structure. Rymer pointed out that currently, only four responders are immediately available to respond to a call. Larger calls may result in calling in other nearby volunteer departments with less experience and training. 

A 1997 survey of students found that 49 of 50 students polled were supportive of a student fee that would help assist the fire department’s operations. A 2017 repeat found 26 of 30 to be supportive. 

If the fee is implemented, OU would be the first college in the northwestern territory to do so, Rymer said. 

Senate also passed a resolution to purchase swipe access control for the Students Defending Students office to replace the current key system. This would allow senators and authorized students to swipe into the office in Baker University Center with their student IDs. The updated system and installment will cost $2,150.

Also authorized was $75 for the purchase of three gift cards to Donkey Coffee, Ohio is Home and Court St. Coffee. The gift cards will be used as incentives for students who take the campus climate diversity survey

A resolution passed to appoint Chandler Jent as the off-campus senator for the 2021-2022 academic year, effective immediately. 


Correction: A previous photo caption on this article stated Simar Kalkat was ousted from her position as treasurer for using Student Senate funds for personally purchasing a plane ticket. Kalkat was removed after a vote of no confidence. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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