Letter to the Editor: SA does not cater to black community

By Brian Troutman

The recent controversy over funding the Black Student Union is representative of the Student Association Senate’s issues with race.

Currently, there are no black students in the Senate leadership. In my years in the SA, I have never seen a black speaker, though many have sought the position. This is not a coincidence.

In Senate elections, students are able to cast votes for eight candidates, which makes running on a ticket advantageous.

Because the black community, which is amazing at turning out their members for elections, doesn’t want to split their vote, they usually only run one ticket. This means elected black representation on the Senate is usually about 20 percent, even though black students comprise far more than 20 percent of NIU.

Because of this, issues affecting the black community, such as former NIU Police Chief Don Grady’s firing or opposition to DeKalb’s new police station’s location, are frequently ignored or even mocked.

The Senate tends to be dismissive of “the black candidate” during leadership elections, and establishment candidates will often try to buy them off with committee chairmanships.

When I hear SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke oppose funding for the BSU based on bylaw issues (which are frequently ignored when it is convenient), I am reminded of all the other ways the Senate marginalizes black issues and leaders. It’s atrocious to see how the speaker would deny the black community crucial funding.

Perhaps it’s time us students remind Senate leadership that they serve all Huskies, not just those who look like themselves.