Student Association recognizes Ombuds Day

By Kierra Frazier

The Student Association Senate passed a resolution to have the SA officially proclaim National Ombuds Day at Sunday night’s Senate meeting.

National Ombuds Day is the second Thursday each October.

An ombudsperson gives members of the university a chance to discuss university-related issues or conflicts confidentially. Sarah Klaper has been NIU’s ombudsperson since August 2012.

Speaker of the Senate Ian Pearson said he worked on the resolution over the summer with Klaper. He said it was an amended resolution that went through other shared governances on campus.

“I wanted to wait until today to talk about [the resolution] because the day is coming up on Thursday, and the resolution could bring a spotlight to the Office of the Ombudsperson,” Pearson said.

The NIU Ombudsperson office was established in 1969 and has consulted with over 20,000 people, according to the Office of the Ombudsperson NIU website.

Those in the office listen to concerns, provide information about university policies and procedures and help to assess a situation while suggesting options that may help resolve a matter, according to the Office of the Ombudsperson NIU website.

Klaper couldn’t make the Senate meeting, but Hasfa Jamalvi, graduate research assistant in the office, said their office helps with Title IX issues, roommate issues, leases, grade appeals and more.

“We’re not affiliated with any other department on campus, and we’re neutral,” Jamalvi said. “So we can advocate for [students] unlike any other department on campus.”

Previous NIU Ombudspersons include Michael McDermott, David Knowlton, Leon Miller, Patricia Lambert, Arnold Fox, Bertrand Simpson, Stacy Dolby and Tim Griffin.

Other Business

At Sunday night’s Senate meeting, four cabinet reports were given from the Director of Governmental Affairs, Director of Greek Affairs, Director of Student Life and Director of Athletics and Recreation.

Director of Greek Affairs Audry Kiamana said he’s been working to improve the communication between SA and student organizations. Kiamana said oftentimes student leaders aren’t checking their email, and it’s making it hard to communicate with organizations.

“One thing we started working on is using the read function on Outlook so we can request that students mark the email as read when they receive it,” Kiamana said.

Director of Student Life David Skowronski said he’s been working on getting more students involved with on-campus activities by using HuskieLink more often.

“A lot of our student events are on HuskieLink,” Skowronski said. “A lot of students don’t realize that HuskieLink is a great tool to find out how to get involved on campus.”

Skowronski said he hopes HuskieLink can be advertised more for students during orientation after meeting with the Orientation and Family Connections Department.

Director of Governmental Affairs Victor Owoeye reported that he has been working alongside Legislative Director Ashley Hines on the 2019 Student Rally. He said the rally is meant to help students become more civically involved on campus. The rally will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Capitol Room at the Holmes Student Center.