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Students prepare for electronic senate vote

ATHENS, Ohio (May 3, 2007) -- Ohio University students will select 2007-2008 Student Senate officers electronically, from either their personal computers or from electronic voting stations at four campus locations, on May 17. Details of the senate's first-ever electronic vote were presented at Wednesday night's Student Senate meeting.

Students will be able to log on to the voting Web site with their Oak ID and password.  They will be prompted to make their selections by clicking boxes next to the candidates' names or by typing the name of write-in candidates. Safeguards are in place to allow students to vote only once, said senate President Morgan Allen.

Student voters also will find a confidence vote for the McDavis administration on that electronic ballot. Three questions will deal with how the administration considers students' opinions in decisions and makes financial information available, while a fourth asks if students have confidence in President Roderick J. McDavis' leadership.

On-campus polling locations include Ping Student Recreation Center, the College Gate and the first and fourth floors of Baker University Center.

Also Wednesday night, Ohio University Police Chief Mike Martinsen spoke to senators about how his department might respond to an emergency similar to the tragedy that left 33 dead at Virginia Tech last month. 

"A great deal of good will come out of this," Martinsen said. Campus leaders and law enforcement agencies across the country have re-examined their policies in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy. 

Martinsen outlined general police procedures in response to an active shooter on campus.  Standard procedure is to set up a perimeter to contain a suspect. In the wake of the Columbine tragedy, responders are now trained to shrink that perimeter and move in on a suspect as soon as that person becomes violent, Martinsen explained. 

One senator questioned whether OUPD has enough manpower to deal with a similar emergency on Ohio University's campus.

"I'm confident we could respond appropriately to something similar to what happened at Virginia Tech," Martinsen said. He also noted that OUPD has mutual aid agreements with the Ohio Highway Patrol, Athens city and county agencies, and Washington County law enforcement.

In the coming weeks, OUPD will practice responding to emergency scenarios in old Baker Center, Martinsen said. That facility will be used because the architecture and layout are similar to other campus buildings.

In other action, senate passed a resolution urging the administration to keep the position of assistant director of campus life for off-campus and community services. Jim Hintz, the current assistant director, will be leaving Ohio University to accept a similar position at the University of Connecticut.

"If you cut this position, you take away the voice responsible for taking care of the concerns of this constituency," said senator Tim Vonville.

Contacted this morning, Anne Lombard, assistant vice president and director of Baker Center and campus life, said a number of options are being considered. "I appreciate the students' interest in the initiatives started by Jim Hintz," she said. "We're very committed to maintaining these important services for our students."

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Written by: Tom Bosco, a writer with University Communications and Marketing

Media Contact: Senior Director of Media Relations Sally Lilnder, (740) 597-1793 or linders@ohio.edu

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