SA discuss funds to transport students to MAC Championship, bowl game

By Kyla Gardner and Jacqueline Evans

DeKALB | The Student Association Senate elected and swore in Jeremy Peters as Speaker of the House at its Sunday night meeting.

The appointment came in light of former speaker Pat Talley’s resignation.

Talley announced his resignation at the Nov. 7 senate meeting, which became effective as of Sunday night’s meeting. Talley said he removed himself from the position because he was offered an internship at Vanderbilt University.

Sergeant at Arms Jeremy Peters was elected Speaker of the House unanimously and sworn in. Peters served as a senator for two years.

“I am very excited to be working with the executive staff,” Peters said. “They have a great work ethic.”

President Erik Calmeyer announced that the SA would like to allocate funds for a package deal for students to attend the MAC Championship Game in Detroit, and a bowl game, pending NIU’s acceptance.

The SA Senate voted for the allocation of $40,000 for mass transit. The funding will support equipment and recurring charges and possibly a new GPS system that will provide real time status on bus locations.

“The funding will upgrade the functioning of mass transit,” Calmeyer said.

Senator Mike Theodore made a motion for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) to give the senate an update about its outside activities during announcements. Members from SSDP were present at the meeting.

Ryan Smith, SA President Pro Tempore denied the request to let SSDP speak. He said the purpose of announcements is not to make speeches about pending legislation but to give information about events and activities on campus.

“Given that announcements is not the time for discussion or debate, I had to rule against it,” Smith said.

SSDP has made investigations into what it believes are First Amendment rights violations made by the SA against its organization.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent a letter dated Nov. 18 to NIU President John Peters regarding the alleged violations.

SSDP is a group whose recognition has been debated by the SA in the past.

Smith said he has also received the four page letter from SSDP describing the laws it claims the SA has broken, but declined to comment on specifics.

Jeremy Orbach, SSDP President and founder, said he had hoped the senate would be able to hear about the statements made in the letter.

“Because the senate is continuing to act outside of the law, we do have the ability to move forward with pressing charges,” Orbach said.

Peters needs to respond to the letter by Dec. 3 or NIU will be held liable for its actions, Orbach said.

Senator Austin Quick said he advocated for SSDP to be allowed to speak during the meeting but understood why they were not allowed to.

“This could have been resolved a long time ago, but [SSDP is] definitely letting this thing drag on,” Quick said. “It’s not going to benefit them in the end.”