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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

SGA disappoints by failing another petition

Eleanor Gentry
A group of students gather outside an SGA meeting. The Northern Star Editorial Board is disappointed that the SGA would let another petition, aimed as helping students, fail. (Eleanor Gentry | Northern Star)

NIU’s Student Government Association has failed students again by overthinking approval of another petition. 

The SGA now has two failed petitions, proving its failure to help students. 

A petition is the SGA’s highest form of authority; and if approved, it is sent to the office of NIU President Lisa Freeman. SGA petitions are required to pass two rounds of approval before being delivered to Freeman.

In February, a petition was written by the SGA that criticized a lack of diversity among NIU staff, performative action and a lack of long-term community support. Unfortunately, students were left disappointed when the petition did not pass the second round of voting. 

The SGA has been unsuccessful in passing a petition that would provide mental health and educational resources to NIU students affected by the Israel-Hamas war.

This is the second time SGA approved a petition on the first round of voting only to fail it only one week later. 

Deputy Speaker Chris English tabled the resolution he said he felt it needed more discussion from the Senate and other Jewish students. 

After English wasn’t able to find any Jewish student organizations, the Senate and English decided it would form a Jewish student group so SGA could have more student voices in the conversation.

The SGA has agreed on a need for a Jewish student organization, which might be true, but that is not up to the Senate. If students want a Jewish organization, they will create one, and the SGA can approve it. 

What the SGA does have is students who say they are afraid of targeted, Islamaphobic harassment. SGA has ignored them for now.

A petition shouldn’t be so complicated. Students are not asking the SGA to pick a side or about what they believe is right or wrong in a war, it is about humanity and students struggling on campus. 

The SGA needs to look at the situation through the eyes of the students who are scared and angry with what is happening on campus and in Israel-Palestine. 

Many students attended the SGA meeting on Nov. 10 to voice concerns about their safety. The SGA’s failure to approve the petition is the Senate failing students, again.   

“I know plenty of Muslims that even on campus have been approached and hate crimed and hate speeched, like, talking to already,” Mujtaba Ali, a junior computer science major and member of the Muslim Student Association said during the Nov. 3 SGA meeting. “And it’s not just one, two, like, it’s been a couple instances, and we need something to be passed for protection for our woman because for the man, it is harder to tell who’s Muslim or not because we don’t go by race, color, but for a woman, it’s easier to tell. I want there to be something that finds protection for us all.”

Students need to hear that their student government cares about them and their well-being. They need reassurance that their concerns are heard and their student government listens to them. 

SGA, stop over-thinking everything you do.

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