SSDP group denied SA recognition


SSDP President Jeremy Orbach looks on Sunday as the Student Association votes to deny the SSDP as a recognized organization.

By Kyla Gardner and Jacqueline Evans

The Student Association Senate denied recognition to NIU Students for Sensible Drug Policy in an unscheduled meeting Sunday evening.

The senators voted 12-9 to deny the motion to recognize the organization as a social advocacy group.

NIU SSDP was allowed to hold a meeting Thursday in the Campus Life Building, but will now be unable to meet on campus.

The SA Senate originally voted on Oct. 24 to postpone SSDP’s recognition until Nov. 7 pending its reclassification as a political organization. No vote was made Nov. 7 because SSDP did not go to the meeting.

A letter sent of behalf of NIU SSDP to NIU President John Peters Nov. 18 alleged the SA Senate violated the U.S. Constitution in its treatment of the group.

Senator Austin Quick, who voted for recognition, said he was surprised that NIU SSDP was not recognized Sunday.

“I think with all the fear and blatant disrespect towards the SA Senate, it upset enough senators to sway their votes,” Quick said.

Senator Khiry Johnson said he voted against the motion to approve NIU SSDP because they did not make changes to their application after their initial recognition postponement.

“I felt like they didn’t respect our decision the first time nor did they take our critiques seriously,” Johnson said.

Jeremy Orbach, president and founder of NIU SSDP, said he and his legal counsel will review their options to pursue legal action against the SA Senate.

Orbach said he was surprised the motion failed.

“Apparently, nobody is taking this seriously; hopefully someone will start paying attention soon.” he said.

Out of 38 senators, only 22 were present for Sunday night’s meeting. The meeting wasn’t called to order until 6:08 p.m. in order to wait for enough senators to make quorum.

The quorum for the SA Senate is 50 percent plus one person, or 20 senators. This number is needed in order for the SA senate to conduct official business, according to the operating procedures of the SA Senate.

SA President Erik Calmeyer said in an executive report that the SA will offer travel packages to students to see NIU Football at the Humanitarian Bowl Dec. 18. The information is available is available on the NIU Athletics website.

The next SA Senate meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 3 in the Holmes Student Center Skyroom.