Editorial: Expect more from SA officials, members

Last spring, 4 percent of NIU’s student body voted in the Student Association/Campus Activities Board executive elections. Sometimes, it seems that is exactly the way many in the organization want it.

On Monday, a Northern Star reporter went to the SA office in the Campus Life Building to obtain a list of this fall’s SA Senate candidates. Contrary to information provided by the SA itself saying the list would be available Monday, the reporter was told that though the list was complete, it would not actually be available until sometime the next day – Tuesday.

Later Monday evening, the reporter was able to obtain the list not through election commissioner Sarah Roman, but through speaker Robert Batey. Though it wasn’t his direct responsibility, the Star appreciates his cooperation in working to provide vital election information to the public.

On Tuesday, the list of candidates had indeed been posted in the SA office window.

The problem: The list had changed from the one provided to us the night before.

All the while, election commissioner Sarah Roman has declined to return multiple voicemails left throughout the day Tuesday from the Star reporter.

As election commissioner, it is her responsibility to provide accurate and reliable information to the public her organization serves.

On a requirement sheet provided to prospective Senate candidates, it was stated that undergraduate student candidates must be enrolled in 12 credit hours and all other student candidates must be enrolled in nine.

This is just not true. According to Article IV, Section 1A of the SA Bylaws, Part II: Election Policy, only paid SA positions – which include executive positions – require students to be enrolled in the above number of credit hours.

This misinformation excluded a whole population of students who otherwise may have explored the opportunity to get involved with the student government, which controls $1.5 million annually – money paid in part by you, the student.

The problem with all of this is that the SA is not giving the student body the credit nor respect it deserves. Whether you know it or not, there are SA officials whose job it is to serve you and reflect your interest within a higher body at NIU.

Too many of these officials seem to guiltlessly and flauntingly toss this responsibility to the side; whether it’s missing meetings or explicitly refusing to hold themselves accountable to their constituents by vetoing a bill last spring designed to do just that.

Students need to step up and require those representing them to take their jobs within the SA seriously. The SA is not supposed to be a student-funded social club in which members play politics.

The SA controls money students paid to come to NIU, and it is supposed to use that money to serve students’ interests.

But if students don’t require the SA to serve them by voting in the elections and paying attention to who’s doing what, then the SA will continue to act like the students it serves don’t even exist.