Graduate Student Senate declares itself a public body

Ohio University’s Graduate Student Senate voted to become a public body in a resolution that updated its rules and procedures.

As a public body, GSS is required to abide by Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, which outline access to state entities and records.

Public bodies are also required to vote in open session.

Whether OU’s undergraduate and graduate student entities should be considered public bodies was called into question after a vote by Student Senate in a closed-door meeting last month.

GSS almost voted in a closed-door session, but Pam Walck, GSS’ journalism school representative, called the body back into a public vote, said GSS President Joel Newby.

“We don’t want to really hurt our students once they graduate from OU. At the same time we want to operate as a public body… it just defines us better,” Newby said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi attended Monday’s GSS meeting and asked graduate students for their complaints about affordable housing in the Athens area. Lombardi said he would pass on their feedback to other university officials.

Among the complaints were overall availability, poor quality and accessibility and proximity to campus.

“This is something I want to build from the ground up, and I want to build it the right way,” Lombardi said.

GSS also announced plans to hire a historian to organize the body’s archives. Candidates will be required to apply. He or she will be given a stipend of $200 from GSS’ internal funds.

“When you have a history and you have traditions, you feel more attached to that institution,” Newby said.

@Dinaivey

This article appeared in print under the headline "With vote, GSS deems itself to be public body"

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