Voice concerns at SA meeting

By Shaz Sheikhali

Students who are passionately for or against the upcoming circus show can sway the opinions of their Student Association senators at the Senate meeting Sunday.

SA Senate will debate Circus Spectacular and a petition that was started by anthropology assistant professor Mitch Irwin. At last Sunday’s Senate meeting, when the issue was first discussed, some senators seemed to be focused on their own views or didn’t know what to think.

In order for the senators to be more informed on student opinion — on Circus Spectacular and any other issue — students have to attend Senate and share their concerns or lack thereof. Senate will vote on a resolution that will decide what is its stance on the circus coming to town.

The debate comes because Circus Spectacular’s use of animals to entertain has sparked controversy.

“Anthropology assistant professor Mitch Irwin created a petition to “Cancel the ‘Circus Spectacular’ scheduled for March 4” because it features animal performers,” according to a Jan. 30 Northern Star article.

Shortly before the article was published, only 780 people had signed the petition. By this Thursday night, there were 2,536 supporters of the petition, according to change.org.

Whether you are a faculty member, student or community member, don’t think signing a petition is enough. The SA is taken seriously by NIU’s head honchos, so it’s about time the students utilize SA Senate and take on the responsibility of making their thoughts known.

For example, NIU previewed its five-year plan to SA Senate last Sunday because the university wants the SA’s backing and assistance in understanding students.

“The university administration takes Senate seriously. They preview things to Senate that students don’t see until later,” said James Forman, SA director of public affairs.

The first step in making change is attending SA Senate meetings, which are held at 6 p.m. Sundays in the Holmes Student Center Sky Room.

Signing petitions isn’t enough; put the pen down and go to the Sky Room.