UOSA Undergraduate Student Congress will be forced to reintroduce a set of November ballot questions after the Graduate Student Senate failed to address the questions in its own meeting. “The GSS dropped the ball, and we’ll have to readdress it in our next meeting,” UOSA representative Shayna Daitch said. The proposed questions, which were approved on Oct. 18 during the Student Congress meeting, address issues that range from the creation of a new district to students’ opinions regarding the smoking ban.
Students can expect to see the ballot questions during the elections Nov. 15 and 16.
Polling stations will be located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union and in front of Dale Hall, but students also will have the opportunity to vote online at elections.ou.edu.
One of the questions will seek to remove the congressional districts from the UOSA Constitution and place them under the bylaws, Daitch said.
At the moment, the constitutional amendments needed to create and modify districts must be approved by OU’s Board of Regents.
The change will make the process easier because colleges grow and change so frequently, Daitch said.
Once the districts are placed under the bylaws, changes will be completed like any other piece of legislation, Daitch said. Any proposed change will receive a recommendation from the committee, appear on the agenda and undergo voting in the next meeting.
The question regarding the creation of an International Studies district will act as a safeguard in case the districting change doesn’t go through, Daitch said.
“Since the districts match the colleges, the College of International Studies deserves its own district,” she said.
The international studies majors are lumped in a district that includes African-American studies and Native American studies.
The list of questions also includes a proposal to change the name of the women’s studies degree program to women’s and gender studies. This is to reflect a change that already has occurred, Daitch said.
The last two proposed questions on the ballot address the smoking ban, but Daitch said these might not be reintroduced at the next meeting.
These questions will not do much to change President David Boren’s mind over the smoking ban, and it wouldn’t be a necessity to reintroduce them, Daitch said.
Some students, however, would be willing to vote on the issue of smoking.
University College freshman Christa Woods said she’d be willing to vote on the creation of designated smoking areas.
“It makes complete sense to me to utilize designated smoking areas,” Woods said. “It’s outside, after all.”
Megan Sterling, University College freshman, said she understood the health reasons behind the smoking ban but felt people should be allowed to willingly smoke outside.
“Those who choose to smoke aren’t directly affecting others, and it’s part of our liberty,” Sterling said.
Both Sterling and Woods agreed they’d be willing to vote to relocate the districts under the UOSA bylaws.
Once the questions are determined and reintroduced, they will appear on the ballot along with those candidates running for office.
Ballots will be cast to fill 34 vacant seats, UOSA Student Congress chairwoman Alyssa Loveless said.
“This is a large number compared to previous years, but it’s because we’ve had so many appointments recently,” Loveless said.
The ballot will explain the questions and define the outcome of a “yes” vote.