SA candidates voice opinions

By Michelle Landrum

To let the students of NIU know the views and voices of their governing body, The Northern Star asked the candidates running for Student Association senate to respond to two questions.

The Star asked candidates why they chose to run for the senate and in which specific areas they thought they could be most effective.

SA elections will be held Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Polling places include DuSable Hall, Founders Library and the Pow Wow cafeteria in the Holmes Student Center.

Students may only vote for candidates within their district and they must present their current school ID.

District 1

No candidates returned petitions for District 1.

District 2

Laura Dolan, junior, pre-journalism

Dolan said she is concerned about NIU and would like to take an active role in its governance. She also said she is interested in serving on the welfare committee and addressing environmental concerns on campus.

“I feel I would be an effective senator because I am responsible, work well with people and will represent my constituents effectively by making myself available to their needs and problems,” Dolan said.

John Fallon, junior, political science/ English

Fallon served on the SA senate last year and said he wants to continue to contribute to NIU.

“An area of interest for me is serving on the recently re-established SA Committee on Fiancial Aid. I will continue to work for student tenants’ rights on the Community Affairs Committee and also would like to see efforts made within the SA to increase school spirit and student involvment here at NIU,” Fallon said.

Jody Jancaric, junior, corporate communications

Jancaric said her main contribution to the SA would be cooperation. She said the SA redistricting plan is still a problem due to a lack of compromise within the senate.

“If factions pull in different directions, we get nowhere, but if we all work together we can obtain goals that have been set,” Jancaric said.

Robert Rinaldi, senior, economics

inaldi was a member of the senate last year and said, “the senate has been plagued with many problems. “Lack of organization, dedication and backbone have combined to make the senate less effective than it otherwise could be,” adding that the senate “should be a platform for students to effectively transmit their power. Instead, it has been more like a political area where a few senators put self interests ahead of student interests.”

Rinaldi said his past experience with the senate will help the SA overcome such problems.

John Yaeger, junior, business/finance

Yaeger said last year’s senate was not run as efficiently as it could have been. He said his experience with parliamentary procedure will help speed meetings and get more accomplished within the SA.

“I believe most senators are not familiar with this (parliamentary procedure), creating the problem of long and slow meetings which accomplish little,” he said.

“The Greek Row area needs greater representation than in the past. I feel I can achieve this,” Yaeger added.

Foria Younis, senior, political science

Younis said she chose to run for senate “to continue the progress the students are making at NIU and to ensure that all students are represented equally.”

Her specific concerns are that minority students have their say in the senate and that all students stay informed about student activities.

Sean Zenner, senior, communications

Zenner said he is well-qualified to represent his district because he served on the New Greek Council and the Inter-Fraternity Council last year. He added that he would be an asset to the SA because he served on the Mass Transit Board last year.

“Since I’ve been a member of several campus organizations ranging from College Students Against Drunk Driving and Circle K, to the Campus Activities Board and the Student Committee on Animal Welfare, I have acquired a strong familiarity with the SA’s purpose and its workings,” said Zenner.

District 2 candidates Lynn Cozzi, Troy Fulton and Diane Shelton did not participate in the preview.

District Three

Jennifer Novak, senior, psychology

Novak said she has closely followed SA issues since her freshman year at NIU.

As a senate candidate, Novak is concerned about student fees and student involvment in the SA. She said she feels the new districting plan has created confusion and caused fewer people to run the senate than in past years. “It is unfortunate that more students have not gotten involved in the senate race this year,” Novak said.

Amanda Rutter, junior, business management

Rutter said she feels it is important for students to participate in NIU functions. “I would like to pursue an ‘anti-suitcase’ movement to boost NIU’s sagging extra-curricular reputation in response to NIU’s ‘suitcase’ image,” she said.

“I would also like to promote awareness and encourage involvement concerning community and political activities on campus,” Rutter said. Rutter intends to join the Student Political Education and Action Committee.

Anat Tisch, graduate student, master in library science

Tisch said she attended SA meetings last year and found no graduate student representatives. “I thought it would be good to represent the graduate students,” Tisch said.

Tisch said her library skills will be useful in clearing out the SA archives. She added that she has more ‘real world’ experience than most candidates.

District 3 candidate Galvin Kennedy did not participate in the preview.

District 4

Preston C. Came, freshman, political science

Came said last year the senate needed to pay more attention to the students and less attention to itself. “I feel that because I am interested in politics that I can contribute in a way that will bring respectability back to the organization,” Came said.

“I hope to make the SA more responsive to the students. I feel I can make a difference in making the interest of the student the main interest of the SA,” Came said.

Jodie English, freshman, political science

“For the past six years I’ve been involved in student government both on the school level and the Illinois state level. I want to be part of the SA so I can use my past experience to help improve NIU and the residence halls,” English said.

English said her freshman standing will provide the senate with a fresh point of view and leadership ability which she acquired from high school student government.

Russell R. Flex, junior, political science

Flex said he would like more students to become involved in the SA and fill the senate seats that will be vacant after the election.

Installation of the security phones and student aid are two of Flex’s concerns. “Also, I would like to cut through some of the apathy among the students I’ve seen on campus,” Flex said, “I am committed to spending the time and energy to make the SA work.”

Dave Gomel, freshman, communications

“One of the best ways I can be useful is if I am directly involved within the student government,” Gomel said.

Gomel said he is not afraid of taking criticism about SA decisions and will stand for issues he believes in. “I have a deep concern for people, to make sure all people receive what they deserve. I am willing to listen and fight for what people want,” Gomel said.

Edward Grasse, sophomore, political science

“I wanted to run for the senate because I want to be involved in the decision-making process of the student body,” Grasse said.

“I feel I can help the SA become a more unified body of student government,” he said.

Colleen Halliman, sophomore, pre-law

Halliman served on the senate last semester and said she has a doubled-edged role in the SA as a minority representative.

“Last year I became a ‘censor’ to racially motivated comments made by student representatives…NIU has a really bad reputation right now regarding racial tension. In the senate, I’m a sounding board in which the students can direct their tension,” Halliman said.

Students “can feel free to bring their complaints to me, because I’m there willing to listen and to act,” she said.

David Imielski, freshman, political science

“As a new student, I feel the need to properly represent my district. In my opinion, the earlier my involvment, the more of a difference I can make,” Imielski said.

“My first goal would be to examine the system and where it is going. I would also like to get involved in public relations and possibly SPEAC,” he said.

Jordan Kagan, freshman, pre-business

Kagan said his four years of high school student council experience will help him in the SA.

“I can assist the SA senate in operating the recycling center, civic affairs, budgets, the allocation of SA funds to different organizations and other areas which seem to need help during the year. I am a person of many skills and I will assist the SA in any way needed,” Kagan said.

Norma D. Navarro, freshman, accounting

“Being very active in my high school government encouraged me to become a participating member of NIU’s Student Association senate. I am the type of person who is outgoing and open-minded enough to speak out for what my district believes in,” Navarro said.

Navarro’s main concerns are distribution of student fees and accurate representation of her district.

John E. Nawodylo, sophomore, communications

“I think that the student should be the number one priority kept in mind when this university makes policies and decisions regarding academics and life on campus,” Nawodylo said.

As a residence hall member, Nawodylo said he is concerned about having functional elevators and adequate heating and cooling systems in the halls. He also is concerned about the current scheduling system for classes.

Jennifer Onan, junior, journalism

All aspects of campus life are important, said Onan. “By being on the senate, I would have a better perspective by which to judge and understand the people and events at NIU,” she said.

“My main goal would be to try to unify the campus from a collection of interest groups into a unified front with diverse interests,” Onan said. The formation of a student action newsletter and a required cultural pluralism class are two aspects which Onan is considering.