Senate plans mass transit upgrades after director appointment

By Dan Doren

DeKALB — The SA mass transit committee plans to clear sidewalks, maximize parking and ensure on-time bus arrivals, the newly confirmed Director of Mass Transit Kyle Jacobson said.

The SA Senate voted unanimously to confirm Jacobson during Sunday’s meeting, following his appointment by SA President Naomi Bolden.

The director of Mass Transit will work alongside the Mass Transit committee to establish policies regarding the Huskie Line and Huskie Safe Line and maintain all things relating to mass transit, according to the SA bylaws.

Jacobson, who served as vice chair for the Mass Transit committee, said the committee has set long-term and short-term goals for the semester.

In addition, Jacobson mentioned the need to install new crosswalks on Greek Row, saying it would help the flow of traffic in the area. Deputy Speaker Sabrina Self praised this idea.

“I do think [Jacobson’s] addressing Greek Row and those crosswalks is an excellent concept,” she said. “Because that goes outside the realm of NIU and outside of the campus, which is something that we tend to focus very highly on here.”

Jacobson said the Mass Transit committee is working on a merger with the University Services Oversight committee.

Speaker Ian Pearson said this merger would help to increase the efficiency of the committees, since the Mass Transit committee typically has too few members to meet demand and shares similar responsibilities with the USO committee.

“[USO Committee Chairperson Cassandra Pilcher] worked on repainting parking lots, when that’s something that Mass Transit should also have been working on,” he said. “So, to me, it makes sense from an efficiency standpoint.”

Pearson said the legislation establishing the merger will be introduced later in the semester.

Other Business

The SA Senate appointed Leboea Rankaki as senator-at-large. He was sworn in immediately after.

Rankaki is an international student and educator who came to the United States from Lesotho in fall 2018. He’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in educational psychology.

“I come here as an international student, and I’m fully aware that there’s not many of us in this Senate,” he said. “I don’t really know the reason why international students’ representation is so limited in the Senate, but what I know is that they also have a right to have their voices heard by the student leadership.”

Rankaki said, while he’s expected to graduate from the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations in spring 2020, he’s also in the process of applying for a master’s in communication, which will allow him to stay at NIU for two more years.

“I think I have fallen in love with communications ever since I became a member of NIU Forensics,” he said.

Rankaki is an assistant judge with NIU Forensics and has judged at multiple intercollegiate debate competitions, according to his Senate application.

In addition, the Senate voted 15 to 0 with 1 abstention to confirm Senator Clayton Schopfer as director of Community Service for the SA Senate.

Schopfer said he’s considering reaching out to Tails Humane Society, a DeKalb-based animal rescue and adoption nonprofit, as a way to increase opportunities for senators to volunteer.

“I’m … looking forward to working with the ties that I have here in the community to try and create more community service opportunities for everyone,” he said.

Public Affairs Committee Vice Chair Kaelyn Nannini introduced a bill to add the director of Advertising as a non-voting member of the Public Affairs committee, which passed 14 to 0 with 3 abstentions.

The bill amends Article II, Section IV of the SA bylaws to include the director of Advertising in the list of executive positions serving as non-voting committee members, along with the directors of Public and Cultural Affairs.

“I think [this] is very necessary for the Public Affairs committee,” Nannini said. “Because advertising is such a big part of what the Public Affairs committee does.”