Fresh off the annual NISG Night hosted by the Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG), students descended upon the University Room in Maucker Union on Wednesday night, Sept. 29.
The weekly meeting began with a sight not seen in a pair of weeks, Student Body President Samantha Bennett made her return to the public NISG arena for her presidential report. She began her remarks with heartfelt sentiments for all of those involved in the organization, but her most scrutinized remarks would revolve around the issue of masks on campus.
Bennett floated the idea of signing a joint student government statement to support giving local universities the authority to implement mask mandates on campus if they so choose. Currently, the Board of Regents has decreed that this power is exclusively reserved for the Board of Regents to decide, but several state university organizations have issued statements to the Board of Regents to relinquish this power to individual universities.
The issuing of a cohesive student government statement led to lengthy deliberation among the settled members of student government. Many of the gathered students voiced their concerns and asked questions about the implications for this type of announcement.
As the student government is meant to speak on behalf of the entire student population, Senator Noah Hackbart asserted his reservations about the prospective statement, “There is definitely a difference of opinion throughout this university on masks. How could we take that into consideration? I wouldn’t feel right voting on this without knowing the student consensus on this issue.”
On the flip side, Director of Diversity Leila Masinovic voiced her support on the joint statement saying, “I think this is a good way for us to definitely say we stand on this ground, this what we believe in, what we want to happen. The main point of them (Board of Regents) in their job is to listen to us and what we need, not what we want.”
However, the gathered students did not come to an organized consensus and the matter was tabled for later meetings.