Although the One NIU ticket is running unopposed in the Student Association executive elections — with the exception of opposing presidential candidate Alex Forgue — neither the ticket nor Forgue have communicated enough with students, which is unacceptable.
SA executive and senate elections will be Tuesday and Wednesday and students are able to vote online through Huskielink as well as polling stations on campus. Polls open 9 a.m. Tuesday and close 6 p.m. Wednesday. The One NIU ticket includes presidential candidate Giuseppe LaGioia, vice presidential candidate Rachel Jacob, treasurer candidate Brian Robinson and student trustee candidate Matthew Holmes.
The SA serves as the voice of the students and plays a very important role at NIU. The SA is responsible for $7 million in student fees and allocates that money to student groups. The SA also works with officials like NIU President Doug Baker and the Board of Trustees to make changes on campus. The SA’s executive board plays a huge part in representing the student body and, other than a Facebook and Twitter page, the Editorial Board has not seen much campaigning from the One NIU ticket or Forgue.
The One NIU ticket’s Facebook page was created March 21, just eight days before the executive elections. The ticket did not begin posting about its candidates until Tuesday, and then continued to post candidate profiles once a day. The last candidate profile, which was posted Saturday, was of Holmes, One NIU’s student trustee candidate. The student trustee serves on the Board of Trustees, which “operate, manage, control and maintain [NIU],” according to the Board of Trustees bylaws. The student trustee fills one of the eight trustee positions on the Board of Trustees with voting power equal to the other seven. They are intended to give student representation during Board of Trustees decision-making — making it one of the most important positions. The One NIU ticket also has a Twitter page; however, they first began tweeting only three days ago. There is no social media page for Forgue explicitly stating his candidacy.
The executive election candidates should be doing more to communicate with the student body. Creating a Facebook page almost a week before the elections does not give the students enough time to find the page and become informed about the ticket or its goals for the academic year.
In years past, there have been posters around campus informing students about SA candidates. Some candidates would stand outside and hand out flyers to students passing by. Just because three members of the One NIU ticket are running unopposed does not mean the ticket should not have to work for the majority of the student body’s vote. Last year, only 2,474 of NIU’s 19,000 students voted in the SA executive elections. Each candidate, whether they are running opposed or not, needs to reach out to students early to make sure students know who they are voting for and when to do it.
Communicating with the Star
The Editorial Board feels its important for public officials, like the executive election candidates, to communicate with the Star so students have a chance to be informed about the candidates and where they stand.
The Star staff has tried to contact executive election candidates only to get no response or requests for email interviews, with the exception of Jacob and Forgue. Northern Star journalists do not conduct email interviews. They do not send interview questions via email or use quotes sent from a source via email because email interviews do not allow us to report information accurately or to the best of our ability. Our readers deserve natural, unscripted responses from public officials, and the Northern Star will not stray from its policy.
The Star’s staff members seek to present and analyze facts to readers so they have a deeper understanding of news like the SA executive elections.
In order to do this, the Star staff must speak with sources. Public officials who don’t respond or decline to comment are not only neglecting to speak to the Star, they’re neglecting to speak to the people who matter the most in the election: the students.
Candidates’ voice in the Star could help readers better understand what their goals are and how they plan to lead the student body. The staff will continue to make an effort to contact sources so they can connect with our readers.