SA Senate kicks off


State Senator Christine Johnson, Illinois 35th District, gave a speech commending the Student Association’s ability to work together as a student body at the meeting Sunday night.

By Felix Sarver

The first Student Association Senate meeting of the year began with guest speeches from a state senator and an NIU official.

Brian Hemphill, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, urged the Senate to help Student Affairs improve campus safety.

“This is about the future of this institution; it is about your safety,” Hemphill said. “We have to be sure to take a stand.”

Senator Seth Peritz said he was concerned about the focus on alcohol as a key factor in campus violence. Hemphill said alcohol was not strongly related to campus violence, but should be considered when trying to address this issue.

State Senator Christine Johnson of the 35th district also spoke to the Senate. Johnson commended the SA for how they handle the budgetary issues they face when dealing with campus organizations.

“Interestingly enough, if you follow the news, you know the leadership of Illinois can’t even do that,” Johnson said.

Ryan Smith, former SA president pro tempore, gave a public comment toward the end of the meeting, claiming that Senate Speaker Austin Quick approved Senator Kelsey Shockey as sergeant at arms too soon.

“According to the NIU bylaws, the Speaker cannot approve of the sergeant at arms until the third Senate meeting of the year,” Smith said. “[Quick’s] action tonight is illegal and in violation of that rule.”

After the meeting, Quick said Smith was correct and recommended changing the bylaw.

“I feel it is in our best interest to have our sergeant at arms approved as fast as possible,” Quick said after the meeting.

The Senate confirmed Kyle Bak as senate clerk, Brian Troutman as president pro tempore, Randy Ehret as information and technology director and Shockey as sergeant at arms. The confirmation of Winnie Okafor, former president pro tempore, as associate justice for the SA Supreme Court was postponed.

Thirty-nine of 40 senators were in attendance.