SA Senate votes in fall semester’s directors


Ben Donovan, Student Association Senate deputy speaker, speaks during the SA Senate meeting April 27.

By Keith Hernandez

Student Association Senate appointed 11 directors to the 2014-2015 presidential cabinet after a lengthy debate over the qualifications of two of the candidates.

SA director candidates

Enough senators expressed concern over the inexperience of Alex Martin, candidate for director of Academic Affairs, and Chianthony Lee, candidate for director of Student Life, that a motion was called to vote for the two separately from the larger pool of candidates.

“The Student Association should never settle,” said Senator Nathan Lupstein. “These are people that are investing in a lot of trust, investing in a lot of responsibility … to really make a huge impact on this campus. If we can’t find the best people for that, I think we’d be doing the students a disservice.”

However, Senator Husam Salem said it was unfair to judge the candidates before they have had a chance to show they are capable of performing their duties.

“I think they’re both excellent candidates that were by far the most outstanding ones for the positions,” Salem said.

Despite the opposition, SA Senate appointed both candidates in two rollcall votes. Also appointed was Chad Harris, candidate for chief of staff.

Subcommittee funding

SA Senate approved a projected $1,359,492 in annual funding for the Greek and Cultural subcommittee and the University Services subcommittee for the 2015 fiscal year.

The Greek and Cultural subcommittee, which represents 23 Greek and student organizations, was allotted $48,622.50, and the University Services subcommittee, which represents 10 university organizations, was allotted $1,310,829.50.

The Residence Hall Association requested $10,000 from the University Services subcommittee in order to keep Stevenson’s New Orleans Game room open longer; it received no funding for the project. SA Chief of Staff Mike Theodore said the reason for this was that the RHA’s request would not help the attendance rate and the organization already receives funding from Housing and Dining.

“Our argument was that keeping it open longer would not help the attendance rate because students don’t know about it,” Theodore said. “We didn’t feel that $10,000 would go into anything that would benefit the students as a whole.”

Constitutional amendments

A vote on constitutional amendments that would have changed the way SA senators are elected has been postponed so the Election Committee can look into issues spotted by some of the senators.

The amendments propose a decrease in the number of districts from five to four and will usher in two Senate elections per school year.

In particular, Senator Brandon Phillips said there is no way of knowing how the proposed amendments will affect voter turnout.

“We cannot get more than a 7 percent turnout in the first one,” Phillips said. “I feel like it’s completely ignoring the problem if you have an election for both semesters.”

SA Senate Speaker Ben Donovan said election fatigue is another problem that could result from the proposed two-election system.

“I feel like if we have two elections — one of them in the spring — a lot of people will be like, ‘Well, I already voted,’” Donovan said. “I’m not necessarily opposed to implementing this constitutional change. I just think there needs to be a lot more evidence to support it before we put it into full affect.”

Other business

The Sports Club Council was recognized as a governing council, an organization made up of other SA-recognized organizations. The council oversees sporting organizations.

The Tenants Association, Trio Student Support Services Disability Ally and Advocacy Association, Doctrine of Physical Therapy and the Malaysian Society of Northern Illinois University were recognized by the Senate.