SA gets prepared for the fall semester

Kierra Frazier

The Student Association has been gearing up over break for a successful academic year with plans to interact more with student organizations and create an effective communication plan between branches.

The SA serves as the voice of the student body to the administration. They perform this by voicing questions and concerns of students to the administration. The SA is made up of three branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial branch, according to the SA website.

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In spring 2019, former Senator Naomi Bolden was elected president of the SA. Former Legislative Director Ian Pearson was elected speaker of the Senate and, while there is no current SA supreme court chief justice, three of four associate justice positions filled.

Executive Branch

Bolden said working alongside the 300 student organizations on campus will be one of her top priorities for the academic year.

“I feel that people view the SA as just the organization who can provide them with funding, and we’re more than that – we are a resource,” Bolden said. “As a governing body, we should be working with students and organizations when there is an initiative or idea on the table, and utilizing the 300 organizations on our campus.”

Bolden wants to get back to the idea of having shared governance with the school administration. Bolden said having an open line of communication and being transparent with each other will ensure the student body is aware of decisions that may affect them.

Bolden is also aiming to hold a “State of the Student Association” address twice a semester alongside the Legislative Branch so students can hear about what the SA has been working on.

“[Students] will also have the chance to ask questions and voice concerns,” Bolden said. “We shouldn’t limit ourselves to office hours or monthly Senate reports.”

Students looking to join the executive branch can run in the spring election or apply for a director position on Huskie Link when positions become available.

Legislative Branch

Speaker of the Senate Ian Pearson said he has been using the summer as an opportunity to meet with campus administrators to reestablish lines of communication between different entities within the SA.

“There’s room for collaboration and shared goal-setting throughout the year, “Pearson said. “I’ve met with the Faculty Senate president a few times in an effort to see where we can work together in the coming year.”

The Senate consists of up to 40 senators and serves as the voice of the student body. It is responsible for the creation, drafting and passage of policies that deal directly with the NIU Constitution and Bylaws, verifies executive branch actions, confirms appointments and approves funds for student organizations, according to the SA website.

As of now, there are 21 Senators, leaving 19 seats for students to fill during the year.

Pearson said he has three goals for the year – professional development for Senators, promoting campaigns such as Project Orange and the #NoShameCampaign and engaging more with students.

“I want to ensure that all of the Senators are active and writing legislation all in an effort to make the experience in the Senate more rewarding,” Pearson said.

Pearson said throughout the summer he has made an effort to work alongside the executive branch by updating the bylaws. with Vice President Kevin Schaeffer.

At the end of last semester, the Senate passed a series of bills to amend the bylaws. Some of the changes included requiring the Speaker and Deputy Speaker to submit weekly staff reports and clarifying the language in the finance policy, according to a May 1 Northern Star article.

Pearson said he’s excited for the year and has developed good relationships with the executive branch over the break.

“We’re really collaborating on creating a set of shared goals and expectations that will keep us on the same page throughout the year,” Pearson said.

To join the Senate, students must fill out a senator-at-large application on Huskie Link, attend one Senate meeting and give a speech in front of the Senate on why they would be a good fit.

Judicial Branch

The Judicial branch is in charge of resolving disputes in relation to the SA Constitution. The disputes handled by the SA Supreme Court can range from election issues to student organization conflicts.

“Our goals this year are still being discussed as we plan on having a meeting among current justices once we are all back in the area,” Zakyrah Harris, SA Supreme Court Justice, said. “Last year, we had the goal of making the complaint filing process better by structuring a template that is easier to understand [for students.]”

She said the court hopes developing a template for students will allow them to get more information about important facts on each case.

Harris joined the judicial branch in spring 2019 because of her interest in the legal field. She said being a justice has helped her fully understand the judicial process, and she’s excited for what’s to come this fall.

Since there is a position open for Chief Justice and another for associate justice, Harris said students can go to Huskie Link and submit an application to join the court.

“I definitely encourage all students to be involved and aware, as some of these decisions could have an effect on their time here at NIU,” Harris said.

The Judicial branch is in charge of resolving disputes in relation to the SA Constitution. The disputes handled by the SA Supreme Court can range from election issues to student organization conflicts.

“Our goals this year are still being discussed as we plan on having a meeting among current justices once we are all back in the area,” Zakyrah Harris, SA Supreme Court Justice, said. “Last year, we had the goal of making the complaint filing process better by structuring a template that is easier to understand [for students.]”

She said the court hopes developing a template for students will allow them to get more information about important facts on each case.

Harris joined the judicial branch in spring 2019 because of her interest in the legal field. She said being a justice has helped her fully understand the judicial process, and she’s excited for what’s to come this fall.

Since there is a position open for Chief Justice and another for associate justice, Harris said students can go to Huskie Link and submit an application to join the court.

“I definitely encourage all students to be involved and aware, as some of these decisions could have an effect on their time here at NIU,” Harris said.