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Ohio State branches don’t receive equal USG representation

Tim Kubick / For The Lantern

On the last Undergraduate Student Government ballot, an issue failed that would have allowed for more representation by elected student officials for Ohio State’s branch campuses.
There is only one branch campus representative in USG who serves to speak for all students who do not attend the Columbus campus. In past years, there was a representative for each campus to serve for the separate locations, but a resolution and changes in USG cut the five seats down to one single emissary position this academic year.
The writers of the issue planned to reinstate the five seats, however it was the only issue that failed on the ballot this semester.
Patrick Harrington, a third-year in operations management, serves as the single regional campus emissary. He attended the Newark branch for two years before moving to the Columbus campus for the remainder of his studies.
“It needs to be the way it was before. Each campus has very different needs, different student populations and there’s a different constituency that needs to be represented,” Harrington said.
While he said he understands the Newark campus and the student population there, he does not feel as comfortable speaking for the other branches. Harrington said a single seat shows a lack of recognition for the regional campuses.
“The opportunities and the resources that you have through the regional campuses are maybe, not underappreciated as a whole, but underrepresented so I think it’s very important that we continue to work toward making sure those constituents are represented at the main campus as a whole and the good things about those campuses are represented,” Harrington said.
The branch campus representative does not have the same power as those who represent main campus students.
“They did not have voting power on bills because USG is based on the student activity fee which they do not pay into, but they could vote on voter resolutions and anything not pertaining to student activity fees,” said Taylor Stepp, USG president.
Stepp, a third-year in public affairs, said the branch campus emissary still has an opportunity to be involved with USG in several ways, including as a member of the executive board.
Harrington said under the constitution, USG has the ability to reinstate the seats even though the issue failed. Harrington initially hoped branch campus representation would increase either way, but Stepp said there are no plans to make changes.
Some branch campus students said they feel well-represented at the university, even though their USG representation didn’t change.
Dylan Fortman, a second-year in biochemistry, is a student at the OSU-Lima campus and said his experience there has been good.
“The college tries to do everything in benefit for the students, and organizations within the college are able to get their ideas out to the mainstream of people,” Fortman said in an email.
Justin Gigandet, a second-year in accounting, also attends OSU-Lima and said he thinks there does not need to be more representation in Columbus.
“I cannot think of anything that the campus could do to help me out even more because they do such a great job,” Gigandet said in an email.
More than 10 percent of OSU’s total student population, roughly 6,000 students, attend the university at locations outside the Columbus campus. There are branch campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark and Wooster.

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