SA discusses Good Samaritan Policy, possible printing charges

By Jacqueline Evans and Kyla Gardner

The Student Association Senate debated the Good Samaritan Policy, recognized Life Changing Ministries and was presented with the possibility of printing charges on Sunday night.

The Good Samaritan Policy is a health protection strategy used on some campuses to encourage students to seek medical attention for a fellow student experiencing a possible drug overdose.

The Good Samaritan Policy was highly debated because the description was too vague.

“The policy needs more clarity,” said Senator Austin Quick. “Drugs is too vague; what kind of drugs?”

Quick said until these questions about the policy were answered, the senate couldn’t make an informed decision.

“We should have no say in law enforcement and prosecution matters, unless we have a clear understanding of the policy,” he said.

Other senators said they felt the policy would be helpful to college students.

“Under this policy, students won’t be afraid to call police in an emergency, even if drugs are involved,” said Senator Brian Troutman. “The purpose of drug laws is to protect people from harming themselves; if they are charged then they aren’t protected.”

Students for Sensible Drug Policy were supposed to be back up for recognition, but the organization’s recognition discussion was postponed because they do not want to change their classification to political, which caused debate among the senators in the last meeting.

The senate approved an amendment to the bylaws to define what qualifies an organization as political or religious and make it available on the SA website.

President Pro-Tempore Ryan Smith said the definitions are based on federal and Illinois state statutes and are in response to questions being raised about what classification an organization should fall under.

“This just makes it clear,” Smith said.

Political and religious organizations cannot receive funding from SA. Organizations are deemed political if part of their activities or purpose is to run informational campaigns or lobby federal, state or local legislative bodies.

Organizations are religious if they were founded for the purpose of religious worship, according to the new amendment of the bylaws.

The student organization Life Changing Ministries was recognized by the SA Senate as a religious organization.

“I’m just glad…that we’ll be starting our organization on campus soon,” said Ashele Knight, president of Life Changing Ministries.

The group first organized through a church off-campus and have been waiting for the chance to bring the organization to the university, Knight said.

Besides the group recognition, the senate also received officer reports.

George Bychowski, IT manager of web development, said in his officer report that the Computing Facilities Advisory Committee is considering implementing a procedure to charge students for printing on campus, which is currently free.

NIU spends $300,000 per year on student printing, and is one of three universities in the United States that does not charge for printing, Bychowski said.

Bychowski said the measure is meant to cut down on waste.

“People will print out 50-page reports, find out they had one error, and throw the whole thing away,” he said.

Senator Rickey Layfield suggested the removal of blank job description pages that print out before any print order.

Bychowski also said the committee made a free Blackboard application available for all smart phones. The committee is also considering making available a mobile application for the Huskie Bus Tracker.

Elliot Echols, director of Athletics and Recreation Services, was also present and urged students to attend Tuesday’s Blackout Football game against Toledo. Echols also encouraged senators to attend the NIU men’s basketball first home game of the season against Northwestern University.

“We want to make this a successful year, and we need your support,” Echols said.

Patrick Talley, speaker of the senate and senator of District Five, said he is stepping down from his position effective Nov. 21 of this year.

Talley said he accepted an internship at Vanderbilt University for the spring 2011 semester.

“[Stepping down] was a difficult decision, but it was the best decision for me,” Talley said. “I am confident whoever fills my position will be a competent and effective replacement.”