During Student Senate’s final meeting Wednesday, new executives were sworn into their positions and the student fire fee bill that had previously failed was passed.
President-elect Megan Handle, Vice President-elect Isaac Davis and Treasurer-elect Reagan Farmer were sworn in by Lyn Redington, Ohio University’ vice president for student affairs. Handle then swore in the rest of Senate’s 2023-24 roster.
Prior to the process of swearing in its new executives, Senate moved to pass a bill that proposes an opt-out fire fee of $50 per student per semester, which had previously failed on the Senate floor. The bill aims to supplement the understaffed Athens Fire Department and improve students’ fire safety education.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Governmental Affairs Commissioner Dan Gordillo, said he sent out a survey randomly to OU students asking whether they were in favor of the bill. The survey received over 700 responses, 75% of which Gordillo said indicated support for the bill, and 90% indicated they at least wanted the option of opting in to give back to the AFD.
The fire fee would be an opt-out fee, which means students are automatically registered to pay the $50 unless they manually opt out of it. Gordillo said this is to reflect Student Legal Services’ $15 fee, which is also an opt-out fee.
Despite concerns raised by students about why they would be responsible for supplementing funds for the AFD rather than the university, Senate moved to pass the bill with only one opposing vote, and it was sent to the Office of the President.
Senate also passed a bill supporting the creation of a $5, opt-in fee for a revolving sustainability fund. It would apply to incoming freshmen who are part of the Ohio Guarantee+ program and aims to address declining recycling rates and get OU closer to the Office of Sustainability’s sustainability goals.
Other resolutions included the purchase of five new computers for the Multicultural Center totaling $6,245. A resolution was also passed to disallow Senate from purchasing non-recyclable materials.
Senate moved to appoint people to various positions, as well as appoint some members for another term of the same position they served this year.
A resolution was also passed to award Dr. Rebecca Barlag of the forensic chemistry department the Bobcat Medal award.