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Summer Magazine III August 2019

From the Editor's Desk


rint journalism is dying.” That’s what two years of journalism school will sell you. And it’s not an unfounded claim; print subscriptions are stagnate, newspapers are closing at alarming rates and newsroom staffs are shrinking. Even The New Political abandoned print, thinking digital was the new frontier. But there’s something so refreshing about print; it’s magical flipping pages, rather than scrolling through a feed, or seeing scores of people holding your product, rather than amassing page views and likes. So while TNP continues to crank out digital content, we always like to return to our roots. Our bi-annual magazine is now in its third iteration — you may have seen our Voter’s Guide floating around last November or our 2018 summer magazine.

With this particular product, however, we wanted to do something different: This edition we’ve added a “Life” section to help students and Athenians alike navigate Athens with a political edge, while incorporating our traditional “Politics” and “Opinion” sections. These topics were not picked at random — they reflect our mission to be an independent voice for Athens. We seek to provide you, our readership, with informed, nonpartisan news about issues, of which there are many, affecting Southeastern Ohio. Needless to say, this magazine was not an easy feat; because of that, I want to thank — first and foremost — my managing and digital managing editors, Cole Behrens and Sarah Horne, for their tireless work, which I appreciate endlessly. Also, cheers to our executive team — Sarah Donaldson, Tim Zelina, William Meyer, Ben Peters, Charlotte Caldwell and Nathan Hart — and our editorial and opinion staff. On a personal note, I’d like to thank my parents, roommates, José Valle and Meredith Lehman for their patience and compassion throughout this process. From everyone at TNP, thank you for reading (and hopefully enjoying) this magazine. Welcome (or welcome back) Bobcats.

Maggie Prosser, Editor-In-Chief 1

Summer Magazine III, August 2019


Editor-In-Chief Managing Editor Digital Managing Editor News Editors Digital Editors

Opinion Editor Social Media Director Senior Writer Staff Writers Opinion Writers


Maggie Prosser Cole Behrens Sarah Horne William Meyer Ben Peters Sarah Donaldson Tim Zelina Charlotte Caldwell Zoe Stitzer Nathan Hart Alejandro Figueroa Bo Kuhn Maddie Kramer Katie Nolan


RED TAPE VENDING Food vendors look to expand; city pushes back. .....................................5

LOCAL TAKES CITY SEAT Area woman wins dynasty City Council primary. ...........................15

WHEN THE RIVER TURNED A 1960s-era project has modernday environmental impacts. ...........7

BATTLE OF THE SENATES Graduate Student Senate tries to fracture from Student Senate. ......17

EAT YOUR GREEN The future and finances of Culinary Services. ............................................9


LAND LEASING AT WAYNE Ohio’s only national forest is at the center of a nationwide debate. .....11 CAMPUS POLITICAL ORGS Rundown of political orgs. ...........13


THE BAKER 70 Who was at fault in the arrest of students at Baker Center? ............19 ADMIN IGNORES STUDENTS Students’ needs ignored in proposed LGBT Center merger. ...................20 THE COUNTER OPINION Three opinion writers discuss The Athens Cannabis Ordinance. ......21

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POLITICAL COMMUNICATION CERTIFICATE BE THE JOURNALIST. BE THE CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST. BE THE CANDIDATE. BE POLITICAL. Courses include choices in communication studies, economics, history, journalism, linguistics, media arts and studies, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Students from all undergraduate majors are encouraged to apply. To do so, and for more information, contact the director of POCO, Dr. Ben LaPoe, via or by calling the office of the School of Communication Studies at (740) 593-4828.


Based on a small black coffee


Based on a standard ticket

$$$ The Athena Cinema: $5-6 $$ Athena Grand: $6 $ Movies 10: $4

$$$ Casa Nueva: $13.17 $$ Jackie O's: $12.58 $ Union Street Diner: $10.13


Average of dinner entrées


$$$ Donkey Coffee: $2.05 $$ Court Street Coffee: $2 $ Starbucks: $1.95


The New Political's comparison of three common date ideas around Athens at three different price points.



Street vendors look to expand operations; city government has other plans By Ben Peters News Editor


thens’ street vendors are looking to relocate their Uptown operations because of changes in the local vending market, but the city government is poised to keep them parked on Union Street. Damon Krane, the owner of Hot Potato Food Truck, said he is frustrat5

ed that Athens only permits mobile vendors to park on Union Street in front of Schoonover Center. The local business owner insisted that the city should permit street vendors to “move with the crowds” to take advantage of late-night bar goers’ demand for cheap food on Court Street. “Athens immobilizes mobile vendors by confining them to one portion of one city block,” Krane said.

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In the early aughts, when Baker Center was located inside the now-Schoonover Center — directly across from the street vendors’ hub on Union Street — patrons could grab a bite from the Burrito Buggy during winter months and then conveniently head indoors to enjoy their meal in the old-Baker Center Front Room Coffeehouse. This reality, however, is long-gone, Krane said. Since then, Baker Center relocated to Park Place near Scripps Hall, and Ohio University modified its academic calendar from quarters to semesters, which led to less business during May when classes had finished. Previously, May was Athens’ most popular vending month, he said. These changes harmed the local street vending industry, creating a greater need for vendors to migrate to Court Street, said Krane — who is also the founder of the Athens Mobile Vending Association. The Athens Mobile Vending Association is a coalition of local vendors that lobby the city for greater vending opportunities, formed to help vendors adapt to the ever-changing vending business. The city is worried that allowing vendors to operate around the bar scene may take away business from late-night, brick-and-mortar restaurants and create unfair market competition. That’s because brick-andmortar establishments, unlike mobile

vendors, pay high rent fees to operate Uptown, said Councilmember Sam Crowl. Local businesses and landowners are also concerned that late-night vending patrons might soil the streets with trash, he said. Crowl, a personal fan of Athens’ mobile vending scene, supports vendors in their battle for growth, but he is not sure that Mayor Steve Patterson’s administration or City Council are interested in expanding vending Uptown. Crowl formed a mobile vending committee within City Council in 2018 alongside Krane and other business owners to facilitate increased communication between vendors and the council. The committee helped pass legislation in December that allows vendors to purchase vending licenses on a monthly basis instead of yearly, which means vendors can choose to opt-out of paying for street space during slow business months. Fewer parking spaces were reserved by vendors during the winter and summer months, allowing them to save money they would otherwise be required to spend, Krane said. “That was just the most basic, superficial, intelligent first step. What we’re really pushing for is to actually have more mobile vending in Athens,” Krane said.


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When the River Turned Photo by Nate Doughty

A 1960s-era project on the Hocking River has left a modern-day impact on the rivers’ biome. By Cole Behrens Managing Editor


raduate student Jasmine Facun pointed to the unmowed strip of tall grasses and tree saplings along the bike trail from O’Bleness Hospital to the university baseball fields. “Things can live here,” she said. Then she pointed at the freshly mowed turf grass along the Hocking River in Athens. “There isn’t a whole lot living here,” she said, running her feet through the short grass nearest to the bike trail. Facun is an environmental science graduate student at Ohio University, working on her thesis studying the benefits of rehabilitating the riparian, or the riverside, of the Hocking River using prairie restoration techniques. 7

In order to understand the environmental and visual aspects of the Hocking River landscape near Ohio U, one must recall that the river was in fact moved in the 1960s and 70s. In 1969 — in response to a spate of damaging flooding wreaking havoc on the Ohio U’s West Green campus — the United States Army Engineer Corps rerouted and straightened a portion of the Hocking River to skirt around campus and prevent flooding in Athens. This layout is now the current flow of the river, according to the Hocking Conservancy District (HCD). The project, completed in 1971, is estimated to have saved millions of dollars in damages, according to the HCD. But the solution to a difficult problem

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came with several large burdens. The channelized portion of the river requires yearly maintenance to keep high flooding at bay, Mark Holdcroft, secretary-treasurer of HCD, said. The HCD hire one or two seasonal workers to maintain the riparian by dredging the riverbed with an excavator, mowing the riparian and other general maintenance tasks. He said dredging is important to ensure that water passes through the channel as fast as possible. Sandbar buildups caused by sedimentation can slow the water flow as it passes through the channel. Sandbars increase drag and reduce water speed, increasing flooding risk, Holdcroft said. He described dredging as “giving a sandbar a haircut,” a process he said means the equipment never disturbs the water. Even though they may never disturb the water, the HCD must ultimately place environmental concerns behind the imminent flooding risk the Hocking can pose to Athens, Holdcroft said. “We’re not necessarily charged with being the most environmentally friendly place in the world,” Holdcroft said. “The channel is not designed to be an environmentally friendly-made project, it’s not natural — nothing about it is natural.” Facun, who also works at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, is determined to see if there is any merit in middle ground prairie and grass restoration techniques along the Hocking’s riverside.

For the past three years, she has been cultivating grassland growths in three locations along the river with the segment along the bike path by O’Bleness — the most visible segment to students. The HCD has agreed not to mow her set-aside portions of the riparian area so she can study the effects of prairie restoration. Her intention is to create an area that would still offer resistance to flooding, but also would allow some of the native fauna to return to the river banks. At her sample area, there is a wide diversity of tall grasses and tree saplings; honey bees happily buzz about through the strip. A return of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, is vital to the health of the ecosystem, Facun said. “It would only serve us to make sure pollinators are getting the quality habitat they need,” Facun said. She continued, saying the mowed grass area only leaves clovers, chewed up by mowers, for the bees to collect pollen from. However, she tempered her principles by citing the potential risks associated with restoration like increased flooding risk, tree growth and invasive species. “We can’t let this go back to the natural river, that's not going to happen, and that’s not what I’m proposing,” Facun said. “Maybe there’s some sort of happy medium where we can establish some sort of quality habitat. I don’t want anything I propose to increase flooding potential — I live here too.”

“It’s not natural — nothing about it is natural.”

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The future & finances of Culinary Services By Nathan Hart Senior Writer


ulinary Services’ annual income is continuously decreasing while its expenses remain steady, according to information gathered from the Ohio University Budget Book for fiscal year 2019. The majority of Culinary’s yearly revenue comes from room and board — money the university receives from students living in a dorm or purchasing a meal plan. Ohio U expects to have nearly 400 fewer undergraduate students in 2019 compared to the previous years, which could cause Culinary to lose nearly half a million dollars in revenue next year. That trend is expected to continue into the near future, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. As a result, Culinary may have to cut back on their operating hours, Associ9

ate Vice President for Auxiliaries Gwyn Scott said. Culinary is already considering closing East Green’s Shively Court on Sundays and has experienced declines in revenue and increased expenses in recent years. During a Student Senate meeting in March 2019, senators deliberated a resolution that could expand the meal swipe donation program. Several senators voiced their support for the program because they believed it could help address food insecurity on campus. Culinary already had enough donated swipes to last the rest of the semester and implementing the program year-round could significantly harm Culinary’s finances, Residence Life Commissioner Hunter Graffice said. Culinary estimated that they would lose millions of dollars in revenue if this program went into place. “They’re already hurting, and we

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would hurt them further,” Graffice said. In 2015, Culinary made over $11 million in operations alone; in 2019, Culinary expects to make just over $1 million from operations. Culinary predicts that it will spend over $5 million more in fiscal year 2019 than it did in fiscal year 2015; around $4 million of this spending comes from salaries, wages and benefits. Rising healthcare costs contribute to this hike in employee-related expenses, Scott said. “We’ve been in a steady growth mode so this reduction in enrollments, it’s challenging for us because usually we’re in the benefit of saying, ‘Oh, yes we can do that, we can add to our operations or we can add to our hours.’ So this trimming and nipping here and there is challenging,” Scott said. The university requires that Culinary can’t experience a loss in revenue since it’s an artery of the university. To ensure that it remains profitable, Culinary operates a reserve system. If the organization experiences a financially successful year, it can place the earnings in its reserves for a year when money is tight. These reserves are not infinite, and there is always a risk of them running out, Scott said. While profits fluctuate from year to year, Culinary’s number of employees does as well. Culinary was so understaffed at the beginning of the 2018 school year that Jill Stein, a former student coordinator at Boyd Dining Hall, often had to stay until midnight or later to close the dining hall alone or with only one other worker. “We wouldn’t have people for dining hall cleanup and pots and pans,” Stein said. “It’s not a one person job and we always had one person working it. It

was just hard to keep that one worker wanting to stay at Boyd because they aren’t getting that help during their job.” Student workers — or “green shirts” as they are called at Boyd — were often not motivated to do the work the job entailed, and they did not like taking advice from managers, Stein said. To make matters worse, Culinary did not have the time or money to properly train its managers. To combat severe understaffing, Culinary raised student workers’ starting wages. As a result, Culinary’s number of employees climbed to a normal level by the spring semester, Director of Culinary Services Rich Neumann said. By that time, Stein had already quit her job at Boyd because of issues related to understaffing. “I wished that I could have done better; I wished that I could have seen a change because of me,” she said. “Not that there was no way to see a change, but I wasn’t getting any satisfaction from what I felt like I was doing for other people. I know that my positivity wasn’t enough and that sucks.” Another Culinary employee, Mindee Graves, said she enjoys her job at West 82. Graves began at Culinary in the spring, after the organization expanded its staff. “There are years that we have plenty of student employees and have all of our venues fully staffed,” Scott said. “And there are other years … that we’re challenged.” “Green shirts” will return to their old jobs in the dining halls this fall, or start new ones, and Culinary leaders will continue to keep a close eye on their reserves and revenue streams, as money is projected to get tighter in the years to come.

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THE FIGHT TO END LAND LEASING AT WAYNE By Alejandro Figueroa Staff Writer


hio’s only national forest is at the center of a heated debate, garnering the attention of national and hyper-local environmental conservation and anti-fracking groups. At the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Wayne National Forest sits on 833,900 acres across 12 Ohio counties, including Athens County. The land has historically been exploited for its rich natural resources like coal, iron minerals and now, natural gas. Under two 20th-century acts — the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 and the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 — Wayne is legally permitted to lease parcels of land for extracting minerals for a defined period of time through a competitive bidding process. The purpose of such sales is so citizens can benefit from mineral holdings and to encourage nonrenewable, domestic energy development, including hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method for extracting natural gas or oil from deep shale rock formations using highly pressured water, said Kel11

ly Miller, Wayne public affairs specialist. Land leasing was dormant for decades until in 2011, when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service announced 3,000 acres of land were being auctioned off at Wayne. Following the announcement, members of environmental conservation organizations cited numerous concerns about how BLM executed the land leases. They claimed that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by approving oil and gas leases without addressing risks to watersheds, public health and climate pollution. NEPA is a 1970 act that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of proposed actions prior to making decisions regarding oil or gas extraction. “It’s problematic in our view to see federal agencies leasing out land for fracking development over parts of Wayne,” said Taylor McKinnon, senior public lands campaigner for the Center of Biological Diversity (CBD). “It will completely and forever change the character of that place.” The CBD is an environmental pro-

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Photo by Maggie Prosser

tection nonprofit based in Arizona. CBD filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service and BLM to end land leasing in national forests, including in Wayne, arguing BLM relied on outdated plan proposals to approve the leases. The lawsuit is still ongoing and has since expanded to challenge another lease sale in March 2017 at Wayne. Following the lawsuit in 2018, a land auction at Wayne was canceled as a result of protests, as reported by The Athens News. While land has been successfully leased at Wayne, no drilling permits have been issued due to demonstrations. Miller confirmed that here are currently no active hydraulic fracking wells and no approved drilling permits through the BLM or the U.S. Forest Service at Wayne. In February of last year, the decision to rewrite a 2006 Wayne Forest land management plan was announced; the plan defined appropriate forest management guidelines. Environmental activists saw this as an opportunity to implement climate policies into the newly rewritten plan. As a result, the Athens County’s Future Action Network (ACFAN) formed the Ecological Force Management Climate Protection and Sustain-

able Economy as an identified working group of stakeholders to help revise the plan alongside Wayne employees. It was spearheaded by several Athens County environmentalist, including former Athens County commissioners Roxanne Groff and Heather Cantino — a Buckeye Environmental Network board member — and steering committee members of ACFAN. “Right now, the very least that we can hope for is that the Wayne revision team recognizes documents on evidence of climate impacts and health related issues that we submitted as the important factor for them to continue and revise their policies,” Groff said. The forest plan revision process is expected to take about three years to complete. It will be accomplished in three general phases: assessment of current conditions and trends, plan development and implementation and monitoring. It is currently in the first phase — assessment. “We are not making any decisions; our goal is to bring public input and perceptions into this process at every stage to ensure a forest plan that works for land management, and works for the communities we serve,” Miller said.


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POLY ORGS 1100 A Guide to Student Political Organizations By Bo Kuhn Staff Writer

TS COLLEGE DEMOCRA student-run College Democrats is a Democrats group that helps elect nationa l levels. Its at the local, state and ues and ideology stances on cer tain iss that of the Ohio genera lly align with sts meet-and-greets Democratic Party. It ho other high-profi le with politicians and ates fundraisers and individuals and orchestr philanthropy events.



ICAN Colleg S e Repu blican freedo s belie m, p e ve in e rsona ta xes conom l resp and le o ic n ss gov sibilit its m y, low ernme ission e n r t, statem helps ent. Th according loca l, t o s e t a organ camp aign b te and nati i ona l p zation y k no phone ck ing olitici c a l ls a a ns on d nd ma rching oors, ma k in @OUC g i n pa r R ade s .







cialists ry So on, a n o i t Young Am Revolu ploitati ericans for ing ex ion by thens d A n e L ib e er in indiv id ty believes Th ted to evastat ua l freedo m and pro gical d commit lo e o the constitu r ing to c a e tecting and accord tiona l rights n , o i m s s s e li of indiv idu ita hopes to ac icipate oppr a ls. It complish th ng cap . They part i w o r h is through ed on, and mobiliz page overt liberati ucating d book ing young e n c a a F e indiv idua ls elect Liber ta their ionary r justic to help rian candid revolut gles fo a g u r ld t i ates. s u ciety, in ob ialist so hting t c g o fi s e r le i wh a futu ement. ent for on stat i s s i movem m heir ing to t accord


Who challenged state representative Jay Edwards in the 2018 general election? a. Sarah Grace b. Pat McGee c. Taylor Sappington d. Rick Neal


Ohio University’s “Baker 70” were arrested in 2017 for protesting what: a. Fracking b. President Trump’s travel ban c. Ohio’s “heartbeat bill” d. Student tuition increases


Which former Ohio governor is an Ohio University alum? a. Dick Celeste b. George Voinovich c. Ted Strickland d. Nancy Hollister

RS: C, B , A, B



What is the name of the Athens County Board of Elections’ tabby cat? a. Pumpkin b. Duane c. Rufus d. Lily

'You only live once' Smedley wins dynasty City Council primary; remains uncontested in upcoming election By Sarah Donaldson Digital Editor


Photo by Maggie Prosser

thens native, Ohio University graduate student and public servant Arian Smedley will soon be taking on a new role when she starts her tenure as the First Ward Representative for the Athens City Council. Smedley, the assistant superintendent of the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities, moved to Athens with her family when she was 8 years old. She grew up on the West Side, attend- SMEDLEY ed Athens City schools and graduated from Ohio U in 2007 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. “I’m pretty familiar on where we have progressed and where we haven’t as a city,” Smedley said. “To serve your city, you really have to know it.” For a period of time after college, Smedley moved to New York City to pursue a career in journalism, but she knew she wanted to return to her roots.

So, she moved back with her husband, Sidney, and her son, Sebastian, and transitioned from working in journalism to public service. She enrolled in graduate school at Ohio U in the public administration program. Smedley is no stranger to Athens City Council. She was appointed as an at-large council member in 2017 to replace Jennifer Cochran, former atlarge member, when Cochran vacated the seat. It was a taste of what serving on council entailed, Smedley said. Smedley, however, lost her re-election bid later that year. She hoped to run again, but she didn’t know it would be so soon. Councilmember Kent Butler’s decision to vacate the First Ward seat was the perfect opportunity to throw her hat into the ring, she said. Butler, who is stepping down after 12 years of service, said Smedley put a lot of thought and consideration into running for City Council. “I have complete faith in Arian Smedley’s ability to represent all of the citizens of the First Ward,” Butler said. “I believe that she will do so with tact and sincerity.” Smedley won the First Ward seat in May 2019 after running against Democratic opponent Sam Miller in one of the city’s only contested primaries. While the general elections for City Council seats aren’t held until November, no one filed to run in the First Ward by the deadline, meaning Smedley won’t face any opposition. When she takes her seat in November, Smedley said she wants to hone in on issues specifically facing the West

Side of the city. “I’d like to see more attention paid to the West Side,” she said. “We have a number of areas where we can see improvement. It’s a lovely place to live, obviously, I’ve chosen to raise my son here. But there’s always room for improvement.” Smedley finds infrastructure issues pressing, like crumbling sidewalks and dilapidated properties. “It’s a matter of keeping those issues at the forefront and making sure that the West Side gets the attention it deserves,” she said. “It’s all about connecting with people, talking with people, understanding their needs and concerns and advocating that we do what we can as a government.” Smedley draws inspiration from members of the U.S. Congress who energize national issues and engage voters, she said. While Smedley, a Democrat, said running for City Council had always been a goal, President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was all the more reason for her to run. “Running for City Council is a very small role to play,” Smedley said. “But seeing that happen, you could be disappointed and not do anything about it, or you could find a way that you could get involved with your own community to try to do what you can to counter any negativity that might come from that sort of leadership.” Smedley is busy — she’s still a mother, she’s still a graduate student, she’s still working full time. “But you only live once, right?” she said laughing.

"It’s all about connecting with people."

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: THE SENATES Graduate Student Senate's proposed splinter from Student Senate heightened tensions between the two bodies. By William Meyer News Editor


ne of the most hot button topics among graduate student senators and student senators in the past few years has been Graduate Student Senate’s (GSS) call for independence and autonomy from Student Senate. Ohio University’s governance is composed of five senates — Student, Graduate, Faculty, Administrative and Classified Senate. Student Senate oversees affairs that pertain to all students, including graduate students. GSS concerns it- RAMLO self with issues that affect graduate students, which evidently overlaps with Student Senate’s own operations. This overlap creates a lack of clarity over which body truly represents graduate students. 17

Student Senate President Lydia Ramlo wrote in an email that Student Senate defers any graduate student concerns to GSS, adding that Student Senate passed bills that prioritize GSS's right to speak first on issues that concern graduate students. Additionally, Ramlo cited the absence of certain commissions in GSS, like Minority Affairs, as one reason for the lack of clarity in constituency. “Without these sorts of representation, graduate students who fall under (the Minority Affairs commission) will be underrepresented,” she TADROS wrote. In March 2019, Student Senate proposed a constitutional amendment that specified its constituents as solely undergraduates. GSS unanimously supported the amendment, but when it came time for the Student Senate body to vote,

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the amendment failed to pass. In a press release, GSS said the move left graduate and professional students in an “unclear limbo on who represents their interests in university affairs.” Ramlo said she agreed to work with GSS President Dareen Tadros to increase collaborative efforts between the two bodies and to improve the relationship and understanding between the senates. “I believe there needs to be a cultural shift between Student Senate and GSS before this discussion can be productive, and I am dedicated to working with Dareen to build respect and collaboration between our bodies,” Ramlo said. “With an understanding of what each other does, we can have healthy discussions about the best path to go down.” Brett Fredericksen, the GSS department representative for Environmental and Plant Biology, who helped pass resolutions surrounding the GSS and Student Senate conflict, pointed the finger at Student Senate’s composition as part of the issue, which includes a sole voting position for graduate students. “Currently, Student Senate claims to represent all students at Ohio U,” Fredericksen said in an email. “However, their body is composed of one voting position for a graduate student, one position for a (Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine) student, and the rest undergraduates. “Student Senate would likely retort that anybody can run for any position in their body, but the duality of graduate and professional students being represented by both Student Senate and GSS is needlessly confusing and detrimental to graduate and

professional students.” Fredericksen continued, adding that the needs of graduate and professional students are different than the needs of undergraduates because they are almost entirely different demographics in terms of familial status, age and financial position, among others. Lumping graduates and undergraduates together means the undergraduate voice will always win out, he said. Fredericksen also highlighted the issue of funding for GSS and graduate programs. “Funds are disproportionately allocated to Student Senate over GSS, meaning that graduate student fees meant to go to bettering student life on campus are disproportionately more likely to better undergraduate student life,” he said. Last year, Student Senate’s budget was $20,718, according to Ramlo. Comparatively, GSS’s operating budget was about $3,500. According to its end of year issue summary, GSS plans to reaffirm itself as the sole representative body for graduate students, highlight that independence does not imply an unwillingness to work with Student Senate and continue finding strategic allies within the administration to help GSS achieve its goal. The summary also wants to make more concise requests of the administration and Student Senate. This includes the removal of graduate students from Student Senate email lists, the removal of graduate student seats from Student Senate’s body and assurance that each university committee has both a GSS representative and a Student Senate representative.

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By Tim Zelina Digital Editor


n Feb. 1, 2017, 70 Ohio University students were arrested for trespassing in the John Calhoun Baker University Center. These students — who later became known as the “Baker 70” — were protesting in hopes of pressuring the university into becoming a sanctuary campus, a school which would not assist authorities in detaining undocumented immigrants. At the time, President Donald Trump recently barred travel to and from several nations where Muslims make up the majority population, and several international students from those nations studying at Ohio U feared they might be deported. Following the incident, the Athens community became conflicted about the circumstances surrounding the arrests. Some supported the protesters, while many argued that by ignoring the instructions of police, the Baker 70 had acted immorally. Detractors asserted the Baker 70 should have protested peacefully, safely and, above all, legally. Few say the Baker 70 shouldn’t have been arrested; a smart protester would know when they’re skirting the law and to expect police action. However, it’s wrong to think the actions that led to their arrest in any way dilutes the power or value of their protest. It actually makes it stronger. Many point to figures from the Civil Rights era, whose revolt we should seek to emulate. Their protests were noble, non-violent and ultimately successful.

What many people do not realize, however, is their demonstrations were far from legal. Violent action from protesters is not justified in a civil society like ours. But Martin Luther King Jr. did not get permission from the Alabama state government when he and thousands of others marched to Selma. They risked their freedom, finances and safety to call attention to civil rights abuses — and it worked. Yet during his time, MLK was a highly controversial figure. A 1960s poll showed nearly 70% of white Americans thought his illegal actions harmed the Civil Rights movement. Virtually nobody in 2019 would agree with such an interpretation, and yet that same logic is used to degrade protest movements like Black Lives Matter or the Baker 70. The Baker 70 are not modern MLKs, but the spirit and impact of a protest is ripped away when it’s reduced to something legal and non-disruptive. The arrest of 70 students sparked conversation on campus that continues to this day. On the other hand, millions of people marching in the legal, non-disruptive Women’s March of 2017 had little effect on our civil discourse. Legal protests such as the Women’s March, or the more recent anti-sexual harassment campaign “Take Back the Night,” absolutely have upsides, especially when attempting to showcase a community’s solidarity and strength. Yet civil disobedience has a long, proven history in spurring action — a history we should not forget.



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Admin Ignores Students’ Needs In Proposed-LGBT Center Merger By Charlotte Caldwell Opinion Editor


hio University has experienced its fair share of backlash this past school year over decisions made by an administration that does not seem to care for students’ needs. Despite the thousands of dollars poured into the school from students and parents with the hope of receiving a quality education, the administration still seems to make decisions that only benefit select groups of people. Major policies on campus that could directly impact the student body should be screened by the students before they are officially implemented. The administration could defer some of its decisions to Student Senate or administer an email to the entire student body, allowing individuals to directly vote on an issue. The proposed 2019 merger of the LGBT Center and Multicultural Center is just one instance of an action taken at the hands of the administration that would have directly affected students and would have been done without their consent. The merger required the LGBT office to relocate to a larger, mostly unused space inside the Multicultural Center. This would have benefited the LGBT office by giving it an extra 400 square feet of space that would otherwise belong to the Multicultural Center. Students from the Multicultural Center and Student Senate were not informed about the merger beforehand, sparking tension and resulting in a failure to move forward with the merger. Had students been included in the conversation, a controversy could have been

avoided. The administration did not consider how the merger could affect both groups, positively or negatively, because it was not concerned about getting feedback from the affected students. Although the administration has decided not to pursue the merger due to student backlash, this represents yet another example of how the administration does not put students’ needs first and only cares about convenience and maintaining a positive public image. The university should also be required to implement safety policies based on the decisions of the student body. In the fall of 2018, the Ohio University Police Department received 13 reports of rape — a number that continued to rise in the spring, creating a sense of unease for many women on campus. The administration was hesitant to respond to accusations of rape culture at Ohio U and said that it has made efforts to increase safety, such as placing and replacing security cameras in dorm buildings. Despite initial efforts, Ohio U hasn’t done anything else to curb the rape culture on campus, other than trying to save face by claiming that the situation “isn’t unique to Ohio U.” Ohio U touts the school’s inclusivity and attention paid to students’ needs, but some of its policies reflect regression rather than progress. In the past two years, enrollment into the school has declined by 2,000 students. If priorities aren’t shifted, the enrollment rate may continue to further decrease. Perhaps these students are looking for a school that practices what it preaches.

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The Counter Opinion is an opinion series where we ask writers to give their take on a relevant topic. In 2017, Athens city passed The Athens Cannabis Ordinance (TACO), eliminating all court fines and fees for marijuana possession in city limits. We asked our writers: How does a bill like this help the community?

Charlotte Caldwell Opinion Editor

An ordinance like TACO is important because people carrying lesser amounts of marijuana will not be charged or jailed for such an insignificant offense. The police have bigger issues to deal with than people who only smoke marijuana occasionally or in small amounts. This ordinance will also only affect cannabis where Athens police jurisdiction applies — it doesn’t apply to smoking on-campus since the university enforces state law. This is beneficial to the students who don’t approve of recreational marijuana use and wouldn’t want to see its use increase due to lenient cannabis laws like TACO.

Maddie Kramer Opinion Writer

As a college town, TACO is a smart move for Athens. The campus is hyper-aware of imminent crime problems like sexual assault and harassment, and supporters hope that decriminalizing marijuana will reroute police efforts from minor possession charges to larger, more violent crimes. TACO also sets Athens apart and shows the state and federal governments that citizens are warming up to the idea of recreational marijuana. Legislation like this is also important as Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in 2018, moving recreational marijuana into the Midwest.

Katie Nolan Opinion Writer

While recreational marijuana use is still illegal in the state of Ohio, many municipal and local efforts have been made across the state to work toward the drug’s decriminalization. Passing TACO is a symbol of this progress. In the bigger picture, this decriminalization is a necessary step toward a future free of racial and class-based discrimination in the justice system. While this is a complex issue requiring longer explanation, simply put, the war on marijuana is racially skewed. Marijuana arrests are overwhelmingly comprised of people of color, while marijuana users are evenly white people and black people. 21

Summer Magazine III, August 2019

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YOU Are Here | The New Political Summer Magazine  

The third iteration of The New Political's Summer Magazine, featuring "Life," "Politics" and "Opinion" sections to help students and Athenia...

YOU Are Here | The New Political Summer Magazine  

The third iteration of The New Political's Summer Magazine, featuring "Life," "Politics" and "Opinion" sections to help students and Athenia...