Former SA member says organization discourages activism

By Felix Sarver

Former Student Association Senator Jeremy Orbach said he wants to protest the SA because he says the organization discourages activism.

Orbach was dropped from the SA Senate Nov. 6 for four absences, Senate Speaker Austin Quick said. According to the Senate operating manual, senators with three unexecused absences are automatically considered removed from Senate.

Orbach turned in an absence form the week of Oct. 31 so he could attend the International Drug Policy Alliance Conference in Los Angeles. According to SA policy, a senator can only receive an excused absence for illnesses, family issues and educational issues. International conferences do not count, Quick said.

Orbach said he plans to protest the SA as well as send a petition letter to the Board of Trustees by the end of the semester.

“Saying my attendance to this international conference is not an excused reason … is setting the precedent that activism is being stigmatized,” Orbach said.

Quick said Orbach attended the Rules and Procedures meeting where it was decided what things counted as excused absences from SA obligations.

Senator Michael Vesely said he doesn’t think activism is discouraged by the Senate.

Orbach said he thinks his removal was “payback” by Quick.

“Indeed, [Quick] … is the same senator that attempted to block NIU [Student’s for Sensible Drug Policy’s] ability to become recognized on campus as well as attain funding,” Orbach said in an email.

Quick disagreed and said he’s never targeted Orbach, this semester or last year.

“I’m the one that actually voted for his group [to be] recognized,” Quick said. “The only issue I had … was their receiving funding while our SA finance policy said political and religious groups were unable [to receive] funding.”

According to a Dec. 5, 2010, Northern Star article, Quick voted for SSDP to be recognized.

Orbach said he considered bringing his issues to the SA Supreme Court, but said he preferred not to bring his case to students not “established in law.”

Despite Orbach’s protests, Quick said he holds no grudges.

“I don’t have it out for Jeremy Orbach,” Quick said. “I honestly don’t care.”