Martin elected speaker after special election

By Lindsey Salvatelli

DeKALB — In a 17-12 vote, Student Association Senator Tristan Martin was elected as the 50th Session’s speaker.

The SA Senate had a runoff vote Sunday after an April 15 speaker election was found to be incomplete by the SA Supreme Court. “There is precedent for multiple votes until a majority status is received,” said former SA Speaker Christine Wang in an April 26 Northern Star article. “In the minutes of the October 8, 2001, Student Association Senate Meeting, the speaker election was held between four remaining candidates. After the first election, there was no majority and a second vote was held. The candidate with the lowest number of votes was dropped.”

Wang cited this previous incident to support her argument that she, having been the candidate with the least votes, should be dropped from the election and a runoff should be held between Senator Naomi Bolden and Martin.

It was believed Bolden had won the Speaker of the Senate election.

Wang said she didn’t want there to be any doubts about the 50th Session speaker and feels confident Sunday’s runoff vote has put to rest any doubts about who was rightfully elected speaker.

“I wanted to make sure all the correct procedures were taken, even if it took a little extra time,” Wang said.

Martin is the second longest serving Senator, Wang said, and he has served on several committees, including the Mass Transit committee where he collaborated with university administration to bring the VeoRide bike-sharing system to campus.

Martin said he had considered running for the speaker position but ran for the director of Mass Transit instead because he didn’t believe he had the support to win the election.

This time, he said, he was approached by numerous senators who urged him to run as the Senate’s 50th Session speaker.

Wang said Martin has “worked so hard” to earn the speaker position, and she believes he will serve the students well.

“He has tons of experience, and he is incredibly passionate about the students and how he can better the services brought to them,” Wang said.

Senator Ian Pearson said Bolden and Martin are nice people but believes Martin’s experience, dedication and his platform will better suit the student body.

“I thought we were pretty fortunate this year,” Pearson said. “All the candidates were very qualified. They all had good ideas. I just thought that Tristan had the clearer platform.”

Martin said he has many things he plans to do as speaker, including attending three student organizations meetings a week and rehanging paintings that are currently being stored in the Founders Memorial Library basement. He said one of his biggest concerns is speeding up the pace of providing scholarhips to undocumented students and creating more cohesion among the student body and SA Senate as well as the SA’s legislative and executive branches.

“I just want to make sure I’m listening to all students,” Martin said.

The fiscal year 2019 budget

The SA approved it’s $1,303,501 fiscal year 2019 budget.

The SA budget goes toward university services, which amounted to $1.12 million, sports and recreations, Greek and cultural, academic and professional, general programming and activities and security fund, according to SA documents.

The budget was passed with a $571 surplus.

Student organizations that have been recognized by the SA for three years can request funding for activities, which is capped at $500 during their first eligible year.

The SA requires organizations applying for funding to send its president and treasurer to one budget workshop.

Pearson said SA Treasurer Nathan Hays deducted funding from a few of the organizations that failed to attend the workshops but sought meetings with Hays to fulfil the requirement.

“I’m happy that the budget passed funding for the university services, which I believe, is essential,” Pearson said.

Correction: This story originally reported Senator Tristan Martin was elected the next Student Association speaker in a 17-15 vote. That information was incorrect and has been corrected.