Race sparks discussion at SA

By Jackie Nevarez

The Student Association Senate’s guest speaker spoke about the origin of Black History Month, leading to some disagreement among senators Sunday.

Guest speaker

Derrick Smith, academic counselor at the Center for Black Studies and adviser to the Black Student Union, was a guest speaker at Sunday’s SA Senate meeting.

Smith was invited to speak on the importance of diversity and Black History Month.

“We do care about our black history and it is important to us,” Smith said.

Senator Miki Grace read a poem titled “A World Without Black People” as a part of Smith’s presentation. The poem highlighted contributions by black inventors.

Smith concluded the speech by encouraging people to be understanding.

“Lend an ear and understand that we are no less than anybody else,” Smith said. “And those brothers and sisters you see walking around, some of them you see sagging and doing things they did, they are still friends.”

After Smith’s speech, Grace encouraged students to partake in education pertaining to black studies.

“Even though [black studies courses] are not required in general education courses, those courses are some of the most amazing classes I have taken here at Northern,” Grace said. “Black History Month is not over yet. We are still having a few more events, and I would like to see you guys come out and just get to know what we’re about.”

Senator Alexander Summers responded to Smith’s speech by addressing racism.

“What Mr. Smith seemed to be harping on a lot was response racism, and response racism is something that happens especially in minority communities that experience racism,” Summers said. “It’s very negating toward progress and I worry about it very much.”

Later in public comments, Smith responded to Summers’ comment.

“I’m not saying be overzealous and overproud of yourself to the point where you put yourself above everybody else; I thought I made that clear. It’s just to say I’m proud enough,” Smith said. “Everybody has their pride. Now it’s time to sit at the table and come up with a solution to racism.”


SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke urged senators to speak with possible candidates for the executive elections.

Informational meetings for the executive elections will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. today and Tuesday in the Campus Life Building, Room 100.

“The only way to get on the ballot is to be at one of these two meetings and fill out the forms,” Domke said.

Domke said the executive elections are good for resumes and as a way to get involved.

“We need competitive elections to get the voters out,” Domke said.

Cabinet reports

Paul Julion, SA director of athletics and recreation, spoke of a raise in the athletic fee after 20,000 credit hours were lost due to a decline in enrollment, among other things. The athletic fee will now be raised by 52 cents a credit hour. According to the bursar’s website, the current athletic fee is about $22.07.

“This is a way like President [Doug] Baker is always saying, of making the budget more transparent,” Julion said.

Jennifer Mader, SA director of advertising, announced that student organizations will now be able to acquire advertising space inside a Huskie Bus from the SA without paying a fee.

“It used to be $75 for inside ads for outside businesses and $25 for the student organizations,” Mader said. ”We decided that was kind of contradicting itself with the SA’s goals to help organizations get their events out there.”


The Senate also voted on two bills, authored and presented by Deputy Speaker Ben Donovan.

The first bill, SB45033, was introduced as a bylaw change to address the contradictions in the responsibilities of the director of government.

“They need to hold at least one voter registration drive every semester in which there is an election and anymore can be held at the director’s discretion,” Donovan said.

The second bill, SB45032, was similar to amend a bylaw to allow the director of Greek affairs to hold a voter registration drive to each semester in which an election is held.

Both bills were passed by the Senate.