OSA discusses UW Oshkosh’s response to the coronavirus

Blaine Brown and Carter Uslabar

With classes being moved online, the Oshkosh Student Association’s activities have mostly come to a stuttering halt.

OSA office manager Tyler Klaver said that all OSA meetings, activities and events have been canceled for the next few weeks, but events scheduled for late April and May are still scheduled as usual.

Harrison Collar, OSA chief of staff, said the OSA Open has been canceled. The event had previously been scheduled for spring, rescheduled to fall, then rescheduled for spring and now postponed again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OSA elections for president, vice president and senators, which took place last week, have not been completely tallied yet, and no winner has been officially announced.

“The Election Commission still has to review the results,” Klaver said in an email on March 15. “They, and our OSA advisers, are working to do this virtually. Once the commission reviews the results, a report will be sent to the Senate for review and approval.”

Klaver said that OSA hopes to have the election results published no later than the week of March 30.
If in-person instruction resumes this spring, OSA plans to continue as usual.

OSA Vice President Ian McDonald said that if he and Sydney Devitt, the only official slate that ran for the president and vice-president positions, are elected, the largest obstacle they’ll face should classes remain suspended is recruiting students for senate and director positions on campus.

“Whatever the circumstances, I’m confident in our ability to conquer any situation that comes [our] way,” McDonald said in an email on March 15. “For us, it’s not about “if” it’s about “how and when.”

Prior to classes being suspended due to COVID-19, OSA met March 11 to discuss the university’s response.

The OSA voted on an emergency resolution, voicing its support for actions taken by the administration amid the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution passed after being amended to include language that specified that the body approved of actions that were “beneficial” to UW Oshkosh students.

“I have faith in the chancellor and the [administration] that they’ll make a well-informed decision that benefits students’ safety and well-being, along with faculty and everybody else that works on our campus,” Banfield said.

OSA Sen. Austin Hammond said that the resolution was written with the safety of students in mind.

“We wanted to write it to encourage the students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to take precautionary measures to keep healthy and to keep safe,” Hammond said. “We wrote the resolution just with updates because it is being labeled as a pandemic on a global scale now.”

He added it was imperative for the OSA to voice its support for the university because of the scale of the problem at hand.

“We as a student government felt it was appropriate to rally behind our university as long as what they pass is something that is beneficial to the student body [and] that we support it as well,” he said. “We just want students to know that the student government is working on their behalf.”

All OSA executive board members emphasized the importance of following the directions of university, local, state and federal officials.

“The university has been very proactive in regards to this pandemic,” Banfield said. “I would also encourage students to closely follow the news during this time and be [wary] of misinformation and false reporting.”

Klaver said over email that it’s important for students to do their part to stay up to date on the updates the university sends as the situation surrounds the COVID-19.

“Students should pay attention to their emails; I cannot stress that enough,” Klaver said. “We, along with all other university staff and faculty across campus, are reassessing these situations regularly and will have updates for students throughout the coming days.”