Senate’s cancelation for Super Bowl upsetting

By Shaz Sheikhali

The Student Association Senate canceled its meeting Sunday because of the Super Bowl — as if the senators didn’t need to form committees or discuss anything that is important.

SA Senate has been talking about fixing voter turnout for its elections, installing more bike racks around NIU and increasing on-campus student involvement.

While I understand these issues cannot be fixed during one SA Senate meeting, updates on those topics should have been discussed Sunday.

Mike Theodore, SA chief of staff, said SA Senate has canceled its meetings over the Super Bowl weekend for the past three years.

SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke said a majority of the senators wouldn’t have attended Sunday’s meeting, so anything taken to a vote would not count because there would not be a quorum, the minimum number of votes required for something to pass.

“There are a lot of people that consider the Super Bowl a big deal,” said Ben Donovan, SA Senate deputy speaker. “Especially given our attendance policy with [senators] being able to skip three meetings, [canceling the meeting is] better than [some senators] showing up and not being able to meet [quorum].”

The attendance policy allowing three absences doesn’t legitimize canceling Sunday’s meeting. One of the roles of the speaker is to ensure the attendance of his or her senators. There are urgent matters that need to be discussed and fixed.

“We could have gotten some things done [Sunday],” said Senator Alexander Summers. “We wanted to talk more about preliminary ideas, specifically about the voter turnout. We wanted to make a committee basically studying to improve the SA student voter turnout; that is mainly Domke’s biggest interest.”

And the senators got things done at their Jan. 26 meeting, when some senators drove through a snow storm — which led to the death of a man on Route 23 later that evening — to attend the meeting.

“I don’t believe that the Super Bowl should be a thing that you should cancel student government for,” said Senator Philip Nanni. “We should have canceled last week instead of this week. I’m not going to be mad about it, but I’m not exactly happy about it.”

What SA Senate could have done is move the meeting to an earlier time or a different day, as Senator Chloe Pooler suggested to me in a phone interview.

Unfortunately, such suggestions were not said during the Jan. 26 SA Senate meeting, when senators voted on canceling the meeting.

“What’s your legacy going to be?” asked SA President Jack Barry of the senators, according to a Dec. 8 Northern Star article.

The apparent answer: A legacy of following tradition, no matter what that tradition may be. But it doesn’t have to be that way.