Ohio

Eye on Education

State Legislators Trying Again to Get Student Trustees the Vote

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State legislators are trying again to give students at public universities a greater say in how their schools are run, Ohio public radio’s Bill Cohen reports.

State representatives Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) have again introduced a bill that would give student members of the schools’ boards of trustees the vote. Cohen says Stinziano’s father, who was also a state representative, began pushing to put student trustees on public universities’ boards and give them a vote back in 1973.

Here’s how the law reads now for Ohio State University, for example:

The student members of the board of trustees of the Ohio state university have no voting power on the board. Student members shall not be considered as members of the board in determining whether a quorum is present. Student members shall not be entitled to attend executive sessions of the board.

The student-trustee voting rights bill would basically take out those no’s and not’s:

The student members of the board of trustees of the Ohio state university shall be students at the Ohio state university, shall have voting power on the board and shall be considered as members of the board in determining whether a quorum is present. Student members shall be entitled to attend executive sessions of the board.

The state representatives introduced the same proposal last year.That bill died a slow death. It was eventually watered down in the face of opposition from some schools’ leaders and never reached a vote by the full state Senate.

Administrators at Bowling Green State University and Ohio University were among the most vocal opponents of the idea. But Ohio State University and its President E. Gordon Gee continues to support the idea, Stinziano says. So does Gov. John Kasich.

Thirty-two states already allow at least one student trustee on public university governing boards to vote, according to the Legislative Service Commission.

 

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