Senate debates adding historian position


Student Association Senator Brandon Phillips, author of the bill.

By Ashley Morse

After a 40-minute debate, the Student Association Senate passed a bill to allow the creation of a SA historian position with a 19-13 vote.

The historian will be responsible for archiving minutes, legislation and campaign details of the Senate. The Senate approved the position after a long and heated debate as several senators commented on how the position encompassed the duties of several other SA Senate positions.

The idea for someone to archive Senate meetings was proposed by Senator Alex Summers. Senator Brandon Phillips, along with Senate Speaker Dillon Domke, had written up the bill, which set up several key points in the historian’s job. Phillips, as a history major, said he felt the historian position is needed because there has been little information about the Senate since its inception in 1968.

“One of the biggest problems of the Senate that has plagued us … is that we cannot see what we have done in the past,” Phillips said. “There is very little saved material in the Senate office and there’s no material in the archive as well at the” Founders Memorial Library.

After doing research about student governments at other universities, Phillips said the lack of an archive for NIU’s student government was a disappointment.

Several senators said Phillips’ proposed bill needed to be revised.

Senator Rachel Gorsuch said having the historian be in charge of managing and collecting the Senate election campaign material while he or she is running for elections would be an overwhelming amount of work.

Phillips responded to Gorsuch and said it would not necessarily be an senator who would be responsible for this position.

Senator Leon Kincaid expressed concern that the position was specifically designed for a history major and with an intended bias for Phillips to become historian.

“While it would be great for a history major to be the historian since they would know what to look for in terms of things of historical importance … we’re just looking for anyone who has the experience in archiving materials,” Phillips said.

Kincaid motioned for the bill to be reviewed by the SA’s Rules and Procedures Committee and for the bill to be moved to next week. Both motions were denied and the bill was passed.