Pennington quits senate

By Holly Schubert

Student Association Senate Pro Tem Jaime Pennington resigned in protest Sunday after the SA Senate approved a resolution supporting a proposed constitutional bylaw eliminating elected officials from being appointed to a proposed staff position.

Pennington resigned and left the meeting soon after the senate approved the resolution condemning the appointment of elected officials of any governmental body to advisership of the SA Tenant Union/Community Affairs Committee.

Pennington could not be reached for comment Monday.

The proposed Constitutional bylaw, Article III-0-1, states the purpose of the Community Affairs committee and describes its membership and duties. The bylaw, which must be approved by the senate on a second reading, also eliminates elected officials of any governmental body from the advisership position.

The senate is restructuring the Tenant Union committee to incorporate the duties of a city liaison under the new title Community Affairs committee.

Although Pennington said at the April 23 senate meeting that he would not apply for Community Affairs adviser, he did apply for the position.

If the constitutional bylaw with the no elected officials provision is passed, Pennington would be ineligible for the position because he is DeKalb’s 6th ward alderman.

SA President-elect Huda Scheidelman said she believes the provision is discriminatory. “I know for a fact that the current SA Supreme Court will not approve it,” she said.

Sen. Brian Holt, a member of the SA Internal Affairs Committee, which reviews and formulates new constitutional bylaws, said the provision was not written to exclude Pennington. The committee wanted two individuals to represent students with the city, he said.

Sen. Steve Coloia agreed that two representatives would be better than one. “As a finance major, I’ve always been taught not to throw all your eggs in one basket. No matter how good it looks,” he said.

Sen. Tom Link agreed that the provision was not meant to exclude Pennington from the position. “We need a representative of our views at (the DeKalb City Council) meetings, not a representative of city views at our meetings,” he said.

Pennington left the Clara Sperling Skyroom shortly after resigning. Vice President Gregg Bliss, who fills in for Pennington during his breaks, took over as chair of the meeting.

The court must approve all constitution and bylaw changes proposed and approved by the senate.

First Ward Alderman Chris Hoagland addressed the committee with her support for the provision. She said allowing elected officials to fill the Community Affairs Advisership could lead to conflict of interest. “The person would have to choose to support the SA or its constitutents. Either way, one group will lose. He shouldn’t have to wear two hats during a meeting,” she said.

Bliss said Monday that he will serve as pro tem at the next senate meeting if he is needed. “I don’t know if I could fill his (Pennington’s) shoes,” Bliss said. “But I will try.”

Bliss said senate approval of Pennington’s resignation is not required under the SA’s constitution and bylaws.