Senator Naomi Bolden elected Speaker

By Michael Urbanec

Editor’s Note: This story originally reported that Senator Tristan Martin was elected as the Student Association Speaker. That information was incorrect. Senator Naomi Bolden was elected speaker. The story, headline and photo cutline has been changed to reflect the accurate information. The Northern Star strives to provide its readers with accurate, fair coverage. The editorial board would like to apologize to its readers for reporting inaccurate information.

DeKALB — Sunday’s Student Association Senate meeting featured a hotly contested race for the next speaker, with Senator Naomi Bolden unseating incumbent Christine Wang.

Wang was elected speaker of the senate in 2016.

Bolden faced opposition from Wang, Tristan Martin and Terrence Powell.

The first round of elections led to a tie between two of the candidates. Wang, Martin and Bolden made it past the initial vote, but none of them received enough votes to avoid a runoff election. The top two candidates always go to a runoff election after the initial vote, according to Nov. 15, 2017, SA bylaws. This election was different because two of the candidates tied for second place.

“No student should feel unincluded by the decisions made by the Student Association,” Bolden said. “We need to continue to promote the message of diversity here. We are all tuition- and fee-paying students, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status.”

Other issues

Wang began the meeting by acknowledging student dissent about DeKalb’s Safe Streets Initiative, which was made known to the City Council members during an April 9 council meeting.

The Safe Streets Initiative is a proposal put forth by the DeKalb Police Department to limit overnight parking north of Annie Glidden Road in the Greek row portion of campus.

“Aldermen Marquardt told us that times have changed, and when he was in school, he just walked everywhere,” Wang said. “He told us that needing to have a car on campus is students being spoiled.”

Wang said changes to parking will have an adverse effect. Students walking through Greek row will be putting themselves at risk by having an increased stay in a high-risk area.

“This is about student safety,” Wang said. “It’s us saying that we don’t want to be staying out later and walking through areas that are already heavy with crime.”

Stephanie Torres, SA director of Academic Affairs, also spoke to the senate about the voter turnout in the last SA executive election. Torres said although voter turnout was down to approximately 1600 this year, it was still more than double the turnout of the 2016 election.

Torres also said there were some issues with the Huskie Link voting earlier in the day where votes were not being counted, but election commission was able to correct the issues, and the votes were accounted for in the final results.

Also on the agenda was a discussion of the $1.4 million SA budget for next year. Sunday was only the senate’s first read of the final draft. The budget will be voted on during an April 22 SA Senate meeting.

“We really don’t want to be passing something with one reading,” Wang said. “It’s a great chance to mark down any questions you might have when the treasurer comes to report on it next week.”