Champion of Students


Pat McGee runs for second term to promote student rights, help improve Athens

Hayley Harding / Digital Managing Editor

Pat McGee knows Ohio University students.


He knows the things they want from their school and how they like to relax. He lives near students, he’s taught legal rights classes to students and he was once a Bobcat himself.


Now running for his second term as an independent on Athens City Council, McGee’s hoping for the chance to continue to advocate for students and bring their voices to the city administration.

“I'm running for the at-large seat because I want to represent all of the citizens of Athens."– Pat McGee


McGee is a strong proponent of students. He has worked for the Center for Student Legal Services since 2000. The managing attorney there, he represents students in everything from landlord disputes to cases involving underage drinking or illegal marijuana use.


He also served as legal counsel for some of those involved in the February protest in Baker Center that led to the arrest of 70 students, according to a previous Post report.


“I must say that I have even been used as a mediator by the university police on issues concerning student demonstrations and free speech issues,” McGee said in an email interview with The Post. “Since our office is not permitted to sue state officials or to ‘meddle’ in internal affairs of the University, I have been able to earn the respect of the administration through my actions without being threatening or subservient.”


McGee says he wants to strive “for increasing mutual respect between students and ‘townies,’” meaning he wants to improve student opportunity in the city and lessen penalties for what he called “indiscretions.” He wants to help make students proud of Athens, because as he says, “It really is an amazing place.”


“One of my goals in running as an Independent again rather than as a democrat is to demonstrate how the current primaries which occur while the students are away, results in a less-representative selection of officials,” McGee said. “I'm running for the at-large seat because I want to represent all of the citizens of Athens."


He isn’t a candidate only for students, though. McGee sees some of the biggest problems in Athens as ones that affect both full-time residents and students alike.


If re-elected, McGee has several main points on which he wants to focus. The first of those points is requiring body cameras for police officers. Calling it a “win/win” for police and citizens alike, he argues it results in “police realizing they have to act as professionals, and citizens realizing that there may be legitimate reasons for the filing of charges.”


He wants to rid the city of “garbage utility charges” that stem from charges on trash can billing in the city. Furthermore, he wants to promote free public transportation and preserve lower-income housing.


“Last of all,” McGee wrote, “I want to challenge what I consider reckless spending on items that have limited benefit.”


Regardless of the results of the election, McGee wants to push to make Athens better for all residents. He says all the candidates for at-large seats on council are “good persons who love Athens, and are worthy of ‘your vote.’”


McGee, who made $7,919.55 as a councilman in calendar year 2017, is one of five candidates running for the at-large position. Other candidates include Sarah Grace, incumbent Peter Kotses, incumbent Arian Smedley and Noah Trembly.


“We have significant differences of opinion though on how best to serve the public,” McGee said. “I believe one should always ask who benefits by this action or expenditure, and who loses? The result might really surprise you.”

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

Landing Page

Special Projects

This story is part of a series of specially designed stories that represents some of the best journalism The Post has to offer. Check out the rest of the special projects here.