SA Senate to rally for state financial support


Student Association Senators listen to a presentation during the SA Senate meeting Sunday. SA Senate meetings are open to the public and take place 5 p.m. Sundays in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room.

By Julia Martinez

DeKALB | The Student Association Senate will host a budget and Monetary Award Program grant rally at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in the MLK Commons.

MAP grants are given to students who need financial support based on their FAFSA information, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s website. These funds are at risk because of the partial budget NIU is receiving.

SA Senate Speaker Christine Wang said about 37 percent of NIU’s undergraduate population uses MAP grants, and many of those students come from low-income families that cannot afford to lose those MAP grants.

“Think of it as having 37 percent of our student population gone; that’s how big of an impact this is,” Wang said. “I want all of you to come out to this rally. I want you to support those students to say ‘I am with you on this issue, and I do support your future’.”

It has been almost two years since NIU has received a full allocation from the state. The last full budget given was $91.1 million in Fiscal Year 2015.

“These numbers are insane, and we cannot survive on this,” Wang said. “We need to tell Illinois that not only do we need a budget, but we also need to make sure that our cuts are minimal, and that we need to continue to pour money into higher education.”

Presidential election

SA officials have been coordinating initiatives to involve students in the upcoming presidential election, SA President Giuseppe LaGioia said.

“I have been working closely with Caleb Tomaszweski, who is the governmental affairs director, on voter registration, and that process has been going very smoothly,” LaGioia said. “If you haven’t signed up to vote yet, I encourage you to do so, because this is kind of the first year that our generation gets to vote, so it’s a pretty important election.”

In addition to allowing students to register to vote on campus, LaGioia plans on having a viewing party for the presidential election in the Holmes Student Center, Huskie Den.

Sexual assault prevention

LaGioia said he has been working on sexual assault prevention with the DeKalb Police Department as a part of the “It’s On Us” campaign.

The campaign is a presidential task force that aims to work with universities to prevent sexual assault, and NIU is one of 200 student leader groups the White House has partnered with according to an Sept. 15, 2015, Northern Star article.

“I have been working on the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign, which [when it started] about two years ago, it was an initiative that was put on by Joe Biden that addresses sexual assault on campus,” LaGioia said. “This year, I plan on having something in the MLK Commons where the first portion of it will be a hot chocolate giveaway.”

LaGioia said the DeKalb Police will come and talk to attendees about how to respond as either a victim or a witness of sexual assault.

State legislature update

Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard also announced updates about budget priorities within the legislature.

“Right now, the rich budget adds some funding for the MAP [grant] program as well as higher education, and really I feel education is the key for changing our economy,” Pritchard said. “That’s where we’ve got to come to terms on what is an appropriate share of budget when it comes to higher education and how can we get some stability, how can we perhaps increase the funding for map grants and how to improve the opportunity for all students to go to college.”