State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) have announced that, after more than nine months of stakeholder discussions, they have formally introduced legislation that will grant equal voting rights for student trustees at Ohio’s public universities and colleges. Their bill is supported by The Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee.
“Now more than ever, it is important that Ohio’s public universities put students first when it comes to important decisions about curriculum, tuition pricing, facilities and all other aspects of student life,” said Rep. Mike Duffey. “The bill Rep. Stinziano and I are proposing gives student trustees equal voting rights in those decisions.”
“Across Ohio, student trustees are making extremely valuable contributions to the work of university boards. President Gee’s support for our legislation speaks volumes about the work of student trustees at OSU. This legislation has bipartisan support and it is time to include student trustees in all aspects of Board decision-making and give them the right to vote,” said Rep. Stinziano.
Over 30 states currently allow student trustees to have voting rights, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina. Each of Ohio’s 14 public universities has two student trustees who have no voting power and are not included in quorum or entitled to attend executive sessions.
Ohio’s student trustees are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Ohio Senate, from a group of five candidates selected pursuant to a procedure adopted by the university’s student governments and approved by the board of trustees. The term of office for student trustees is two years.
In his letter of support, President Gee states: “I write to express my full support of your proposal to grant students the opportunity to serve as full voting trustees at public universities in Ohio. By giving students full voting privileges under statutory law, you are enabling them to actively engage in decision-making processes that directly affect their academic success and university experience.”