As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on whether to confirm Besty DeVos as President Donald Trump’s secretary of the Department of Education, a resolution was passed by Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government to oppose her confirmation.
Mikayla Bodey, a USG senator and fourth-year in public affairs, brought the resolution directly to the floor Wednesday evening, bypassing the senate steering committee due to time sensitivity. Requiring a two-thirds majority, the resolution passed with a vote of 23-2, with seven senators abstaining.
As a result of the resolution, USG President Gerard Basalla, a fourth-year in political science and strategic communication, said he placed a call to both of Ohio’s senators’ offices in order to voice USG’s disapproval of DeVos. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has come out publicly and said he will be voting ‘No’ on DeVos while Republican Sen. Rob Portman, whom Basalla previously interned for, has yet to voice his position.
Bodey said she felt it was important for USG to take a stance on the issue after hearing various concerns regarding DeVos from her constituents via social media.
“As students who are trying to advocate for access to higher education and affordable access to higher education, we have to stay on the lookout for this kind of thing,” Bodey told The Lantern. “It’s our responsibility to call upon our elected officials in everything that we do, in our personal life and USG.”
While the resolution passed with a high margin, it was not without opposition.
David Glass, a fourth-year in agribusiness and economics, was one of the resolution’s most vocal opponents. He said while he does not support DeVos, he doesn’t believe USG should take stances on national politics. He spoke out against a resolution passed Wednesday night that opposed concealed carry on OSU’s campus for similar reasons.
“I don’t believe it’s the role of — and I’ve said this before, I’m starting to sound like a broken record — but it’s not our role of government to comment on these issues,” Glass said during the session. “I would say passing this resolution is openly and blatantly saying we are a liberal body, we represent liberal points of view.”
USG Vice President Danielle Di Scala, a fourth-year in political science, said that as speaker of the legislative body she stands by the assembly’s position and thinks USG should speak out on matters concerning higher education.
“I think that it is really important that we have a legislative branch in USG, because they are an independent body that speaks on behalf of their constituents so I am in full support of whatever they speak on,” Di Scala told The Lantern. “I think that it is important that they are taking stances on things that directly impact higher education.”
The committee vote regarding DeVos’s nomination will take place on Jan. 31 at 10 a.m.