Elections, on-campus police to be improved

By James Green

NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips spoke about his plans for NIU’s police department at Sunday’s Student Association Senate meeting.

The Senate also approved the formation of a committee to look into possible improvements for Senate elections.

Phillips said NIU’s Late Night Ride service will still be operational today and Tuesday, despite the campus closure.

He also said students and residents should try to remain indoors.

Police changes

At the Senate meeting, Phillips gave an introduction on how he wants to improve the campus police department.

A 911 dispatch station is under construction in the campus police department and Phillips hopes this will vastly improve communication efforts throughout campus.

Phillips also plans on examining patrol maps, which will soon be made available to the public. Campus police are looking to increase the presence of the Rape Aggression Defense program at NIU as well as introduce an improved emergency alert app.

Phillips also wants to work with city police to address the crime rate in the area just north of campus, as it is the zone with the highest crime rate in the city.

Election Committee

The Senate took its first step in restructuring Senate elections by voting to create an election committee.

The committee will be chaired by Senator Alonte Holliday and initially will be focused on research into methods of increasing voter turnout.

“Right now we’re just researching to see what works,” Holliday said. “We’re going to see some things that work this way and some things from other schools that work a completely different way.”

Holiday said he wants to look at it from all aspects and looking at change for the better.

Senate Speaker Dillon Domke and Rebecca Clark, SA governmental affairs director, had done research over winter break, but wants the committee to go more in depth with its research.

Clark, who looked at schools within Illinois to examine their student voting data, said the addition of online elements will likely factor into election changes.

“Our Senate is more formed than any other senate in state,” Clark said. “But all of their voter turnout rates were higher than ours, and most of them do [elections] online through the Blackboard system, so that’s definitely something to be looked into.”