Alum criticizes SGA for ‘rash decision making’


Cheyanne Quintanilla

Speaker Dallas Douglass reads from the agenda during the SGA senate’s meeting on Friday. The agenda featured a digital public comment from SGA alumn Jacob Burg, who criticized the SGA’s recent actions and performance. (Cheyanne Quintanilla | Northern Star)

By Evan Mellon and Bridgette Fox

Clarification: The public comment by Jacob Berg was submitted as an email and read by Speaker Dallas Douglass.

The usual calm of the Student Government Association senate’s weekly meeting was disrupted by an alum’s public comment, criticizing SGA leadership and the senate’s decision making.

Former SGA senator and NIU alum Jacob Burg gave a message to the SGA through a public comment email where he criticized what he saw as a lack of transparency and hasty decision making during meetings.

During his time in the SGA, Burg served as a senator, chair of the board of elections and the deputy speaker of the senate. Burg was in the SGA for two years and assisted in the creation of projects like the Huskie Closet, a program that offers free clothes to students on campus.

Burg said he wrote the letter after following the SGA and being frustrated with senate leadership and the actions of senators, citing meeting minutes being uploaded late and failures to pass legislation that he claims would have held senators accountable.

“At the end of my term last year, I told the Northern Star in an interview that I hoped to see transparency and accountability in the future of the SGA,” Burg said. “I’m disappointed to see, oftentimes rash decision making, a breakdown of governing norms and a whole leadership trip to Louisiana paid for by the students of NIU.”

SGA President Raaif Majeed said he sees critiques from Burg as a wake up call for the SGA.

“As leadership on all ends of SGA, you need to do a better job at making sure that we’re undertaking the basic functionality of our positions,” Majeed said. “I see it (Burg’s message) as  constructive criticism.”

Majeed said that there was no precedent for the SGA’s training weekend in Louisiana. However, he believes the trip was valuable to the senators because normal training is usually a weekend trip over the summer.

Burg also pressured senators to carefully consider who they will vote for during the upcoming speaker elections.

“Each of you are here to serve your student body and community,” Burg said. “I strongly urge you to use your best judgment and to elect someone you may not expect as next in line, someone outside of leadership and hopefully someone who is dedicated to structure, order and impartialness.”

Majeed said Burg’s points indicate that students need to be engaged in SGA elections and what the results entail.

“We historically have a little bit lower voter turnout than we would like to have in our elections,” Majeed said. “At the end of the day, we do represent the student body and we are answerable to the student body.”