Cole Hensley named SGA speaker for Fall 2023


Rachel Cormier

Senator Cole Hensley (right) gives his speech for speaker of the Senate to the SGA. Cole Hensley will be speaker of the Senate for the 55th session for the next academic year.

By Rachel Cormier, News Reporter

DeKALB – Cole Hensley was named the Student Government Association’s speaker of the Senate with a vote of 11 to 6 against interim Speaker Debbie Allen.

Hensley advocated for more disciplined leadership in his speech where he said he would hold chairs and senators more responsible for turning in minutes and legislation for the upcoming term.

“There is no world in which the speaker should not be holding these people accountable of which they’re all appointed,” Hensley said. “As well, all other leadership positions that have worked with the speaker should know of these problems, and if they have not done anything about them, they are also at fault.”

His campaign promises reflected the recent problems with SGA’s consistency with releasing their minutes and agendas as well as notifying the public in advance with a change in their meeting times.

Hensley will be completing his fourth term as a member of the SGA as speaker for the upcoming term.

In addition, two members of the 55th Session Cabinet were voted in for director positions. 

Chief of Staff James Innis was selected for director of organizational development and Vincent Baker was elected director of athletics for the 2023 year.


Legislation was passed to revitalize the former Student Safety task force, authored by Senator Aidan O’Brien who originally proposed to create a student-led task force which would act as a platform for safety concerns around campus. 

O’Brien said he wrote the bill with hopes of creating discussions about security and specifically to provide a voice for recent complaints of over-policing Black student events.

“Quite honestly, sometimes there’s a reason for that,” O’ Brien said. “NIU police need to do what they need to do and these are things coming down from administration, so this is just a student led task force so that these collaborative discussions can take place with students so that student leaders can have some kind of voice.”

O’Brien and other senators discussed how he would recruit students to the taskforce, either completely through volunteers or if the university would be responsible for choosing members.

“I just think there needs to be some sort of incentive to actually have students gravitate towards this task force,” Senator Princess Rogers said. “To make sure we’re actually having conversations we need to have and we are doing it in a way that actually affects students.”

A majority of the council agreed to restore membership in the former Student Safety task force, carrying out the goal of O’Brien’s bill.


Senator Emmanuel Corpuz proposed legislation to add speed bumps to roads throughout the NIU campus where student safety is of concern.

Corpuz proposed streets including N. Lincoln Drive, N. Stevenson Drive, Grant Drive and Gilbert Drive, roads that he’d received complaints about speeding.

Historian Atlas Babcock gave their support from their experience seeing students almost getting hit by cars around Gilbert due to a lack of vision from the Huskie line bus stop and parked cars.

“For those of you who aren’t aware, the way that Gilbert Drive is set up is there is parking on the street and there are crosswalks,” Babcock said. “But it is really hard if you are a car driving to see students crossing the street from your view.”

The legislation was passed although prices for installing speed bumps have yet to be discussed along with what specific roads will receive them.

The SGA’s final meeting of the school year will be 2 p.m. Friday.

Locations are posted in the senate’s agendas. SGA minutes and intent to speak forms are available on Huskie Hub.