SA vice president questions actions of UP&A

By Rebecca Bahr

The Student Association prepares to butt heads again this week with NIU administration as more questions arise on the issue of legitimate SA power.

SA Vice President Tanya Smith is questioning University Programming and Activities on actions that she said undermine the constitutional responsibility of the SA.

Smith said UP&A granted SA recognition to at least three student organizations this semester without communication with the SA vice president, who is in charge of the recognition process.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Gay/Lesbian Union and Circle K did not turn in the required paperwork for SA recognition but were granted recognition by the UP&A office anyway, Smith said.

The SA constitution states that funding of campus organizations is contingent upon recognition approval by the senate.

Speaking to the SA senate Sunday evening, Smith urged the senate to take a firm stand against the administration’s violation of constitutional procedure.

“I think we’re heading down a slippery slope once again,” said Sen. Keith Smith. “The administration should not be able to say ‘we think the decision made by student representatives is wrong, so we’re going to change it.'”

The vice president agreed.

“Controlling recognition power is a state of maintaining the power of the SA,” she said. “If we don’t work to maintain our bylaws and ensure that the university respects our responsibilities, we will be setting ourselves up to lose what little we have left.”

After considerable debate, the senate voted 24-4 in favor of a proposed letter to UP&A Director Michelle Emmett deeming the actions “inappropriate and unacceptable.”

However, the debate was not without opposition. At least two senators spoke out in disagreement with the vice president.

Sen. Henry Treftz said he feels UP&A acted responsibly. “I don’t like it when university offices take over our duties, but when we’re not doing our job, someone has to take over,” he said.

Treftz then pointed blame at Smith for failing to complete recognition approval last semester.

“We took care of SA recognition by October last year. It’s March—something’s wrong here,” Treftz said.

Sen. Richard Parkman said the problem with the recognition process is that SA executive board members and advisers are not held accountable for office hours, therefore student organizations have a hard time tracking them down for approval.

Parkman said many groups don’t want SA recognition because they have grudges to bear with the SA.