Ohio University's Graduate Student Senate met Tuesday evening for a conversation with Athens Mayor Steve Patterson.
The floor was open for senate members to ask Patterson questions directly. Academic Life and Research Commissioner Courtney Silver-Peavey asked about the steep increase in housing prices and rapid degradation of housing quality.
Patterson said a rent cap on housing for students concerns the city's legislative body. Patterson said he is not opposed to getting the city council to write legislation for the city of Athens.
Michael Pierce, the Senate representative for the department of Philosophy, asked why fracking waste is being deposited in Athens.
"We have a lot of orphan wells here from oil extraction. In between Athens County and Washington County, there are these large tanks that hold the fracking waste as they're pumping it underground," Patterson said.
Elaborating on the wastewater management issue and fracking in Athens County, Patterson added that a well fracture could harm the city.
"If there were ever to be a fracture, and that starts seeping into the oncoming aquifer, anybody who's using that aquifer downstream, and potentially some of the places upstream … it could be devastating to the city," Patterson said.
Following the conversation hour with Mayor Patterson, the Senate moved to introduce new members. In collaboration with the undergraduate student senate, the graduate senate is creating a bill to have Election Day as a designated university holiday.