SGA approves cabinet members for upcoming semester

Dan Doren, Senior Reporter

DeKALB — The SGA Senate confirmed three appointees to SGA cabinet positions for the upcoming 52nd session during its meeting Sunday via Blackboard Collaborate.

President-elect Antonio Johnson selected Devlin Collins, sophomore nonprofit studies major, as chief of staff. Collins is president for NIU’s chapter of the NAACP and served as election commissioner during the spring elections.

Collins said he wants to utilize the SGA as a means of providing reassurance to students who have been affected by COVID-19. He suggested the SGA could provide additional assistance to cultural resource centers and meet with academic counselors to improve grading policies.

“SGA should really just take next semester and just kind of say, ‘Hey, you know, we weren’t sitting around, we were making sure that everything was going solidly for the students that came back,’” Collins said.

Corey Batz, sophomore operations and information management major, will retain his position as director of information technology next session. He first assumed the role in May 2019, his resume shows.

Batz listed the projects he has achieved throughout the session, such as securing four laptops for SGA use, simplifying digital file storage for SGA documents and downloading individual materials from HuskieLink to prepare for the transition over to a different platform.

“I hope I can continue to provide the student government body with information technology support as well as advocacy for specific technological devices and software that are needed throughout the 2020-2021 academic year,” he said.

Shantez Branch, sophomore pre-physical therapy major, was confirmed as director of Greek affairs. Branch is an SGA senator, vice president for NIU’s chapter of NAACP and public relations committee co-director for the Black Student Union.

Branch said she wants to unite different Greek councils and work with them to plan events. She said she’d continue her secretary position for the Delta Omicron chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., but assured this wouldn’t distract from her duties as director.

“I also understand, with this position, I’m required to report to the Senate every month, which I’m prepared to do,” Branch said.

Other Business
President Naomi Bolden gave her final executive report, in which she said she had received complaints regarding long response times for the recently established Student Emergency Fund. She advises that students be patient with the process.

“If you have applied for the emergency assistance, please, if you can, just hang in there a little bit longer,” Bolden said. “Within the first three hours of the application going live, there [were] about 1,400 applications. … If you have not heard anything within a week, I will strongly, strongly encourage you to call or email someone in the office that you know you can talk to.”

In addition, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that amends Part I, Article III, Section 4 of the SGA Bylaws, which concerns the appointment and duties of cabinet members.

Speaker of the Senate Ian Pearson said he wrote the amendment to clarify that the president-elect has the power to appoint cabinet members for the succeeding session.

“I noticed that there’s a line that said, … ‘All Directors shall be appointed by the President or Vice President and confirmed by the Senate,’” Pearson said. “The issue with this is that it doesn’t specify whether it’s the cabinet members for the existing year, for the next year, if it’s new cabinet members. It’s really vague.”

A bill to approve the fiscal year 2021 annual budget has been tabled until next week. Treasurer Devohn Hall said the projected budget is about $1.26 million, 85% of which would go to university services while the remaining 15% would be used to fund student organizations.