OU Student Senate Debates Possible Change To Student Contact Information Requirement

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Ohio University Student Senate members engaged in an at times tense and passionate debate on possible changes to the amount of contact information students would have to disclose to the university.

The Wednesday evening debate followed Senate President Zach George's proposal made last week for a resolution that calls for a university policy that would require students to provide their cell phone number, email address and current address–whether it's on or off campus.

Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi says he has been considering changing OU policy on the matter for some time now and last night was his chance to hear what students had to say about it.

"I asked the students if they would like to weigh in on that conversation and so a couple of students put forward a resolution to discuss this," Lombardi said.  

Senate Treasurer Evan Ecos argued the information is essential to keep students safe from harming themselves and others.

"As Ohio Student Senate members we are serious about security on campus and this is something we want to move forward on," Ecos said.

But some voiced their belief that the resolution would violate students' privacy and argued students should have a right to opt out of providing personal information.

"I'm all for making sure students can be contacted in case of an emergency, and making sure that we have the ability to get ahold of them and to let them know. I guess my issue is we're not allowing students to have the choice to opt out," Governmental Affairs Commissioner Giles Allen said.

Others said students provide their personal information to a variety of other sources every day.

“You probably register for things such as text messages and emails at Bath and Body Works which is worse than what this university will probably do with your email,” freshmen Kelsey Crowley said. “In fact, they won't do anything but use it for emergency information.

Ultimately, the Senate decided to amend the resolution so that students would have the choice to opt-out of providing certain parts of their emergency contact information. Further discussion as well as the vote for the proposed resolution was tabled until next week's meeting.

Next week's meeting will be held at 7:15 p.m. at Walter Hall.