Oct. 18, 2007
By Jessica Alfrey
Student Senate unanimously adopted a resolution Wednesday night calling on President Roderick McDavis to form an ad hoc committee to explore the possibility of instituting a "medical amnesty" program at Ohio University.
The resolution recommends that the university research programs that allow students to seek medical attention for themselves and friends without facing legal repercussions for underage drinking or other illegal activity. Such programs are in place at Cornell University and Bowling Green State University.
"Health and wellness of Ohio University students is one of our biggest concerns; those who need medical care may be reluctant to seek help because of potential judiciary council actions," said Meghan Hanrahan, commissioner for university life and lead sponsor of the resolution. Hanrahan said that since an amnesty program was instituted in 2002 at Cornell, "there has been an increase in calls to emergency services and emergency room visits."
Another sponsor of the bill, Commissioner for International Affairs Alex Nickley, was interested in researching the proposal's potential negative consequences, such as "how the policy would further taint our school's reputation and whether it would take the responsibility away from the student."
The senate passed other resolutions, including one approving Michael Burkhardt as the new off-campus living senator and another requiring senators going on extended leave to appoint a permanent proxy who performs all of the senators' duties, thereby ensuring representation of the senators' constituents. Additional resolutions approved internal funding for events such as "Pizza with the President" and Reverse Trick or Treat.
In other meeting highlights:
- Deonna Whitfield, senator for black affairs, spoke about her efforts to launch a black women's paper in Athens. Whitfield said she had been in talks with existing local papers to produce a special monthly insert that would "focus on the aspects pertaining to the black students and community."
- Sally Neidhard, senator for women's affairs, announced that informative shower hangers will be installed in residence halls to educate and encourage students to do self-breast exams. Niedhard also pointed out that today, Thursday, is national "Love Your Body Day," sponsored by the Women's Center. There will be an informational booth in Baker Center and a screening of the film "Real Women Have Curves" at 6 p.m. in the Women's Center.