Positions appointed, funding request and bills debated
Under the crisp fall air, members of the Northern Iowa Student Government packed into the University Room in Maucker Union on Wednesday, Oct. 20 for their 10th weekly meeting of the semester.
The meeting began with the special business of appointing the Director of Civil Engagement and a new Associate Justice. First, Speaker Sam Caughron introduced Anton Benjegerdes for the position of Director of Civil Engagement. As prospective Director of Civil Engagement, Benjegerdes stressed the importance of voting in a democracy and shared how his passion for the democratic process will fuel his duties for the position. He was voted in by a tally of 9-0-1.
The members then turned their attention to the appointment of Grace Bedford for an Associate Justice position. A science education and public administration major, Bedford was introduced by Chief Justice Parker Daniels, and after no questions or debate, Bedford was appointed by a vote of 9-0-1. Both appointees were then quickly sworn in simultaneously by Student Body President Samantha Bennett and recognized as official members of the Northern Iowa Student Government.
Following this, the members focused their attention on the noncontroversial docket of the night, consisting of two bills to be voted on. The first introduced Tanner Richards, a junior political communications major, to be elected as an at-large senator. He was appointed by a vote of 9-0-1.
The second bill was a contingency fund request of $500 for travel expenses by the Panther Tabletop Gaming Club for their trip to a national tournament in Las Vegas. The request was approved by a vote of 10-0-1.
The students then arrived at the controversial docket which was composed of two bills relating to the amendment of the Northern Iowa Student Government by-laws. The first bill updated certain requirements for NISG Senate committee membership and put voting power in the hands of NISG committee members. In addition to this bill, Chief Justice Parker Daniels presented an amendment to the by-laws to extensively update the duties and responsibilities of Judicial Branch members, fleshing out these rules for each position. After these first readings, both bills were tabled for the following meeting to be read again and eventually voted on.
Rounding out the meeting, reports were given to the assembled students by members of the Board of Directors for the first time this semester. Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Leah Evans shared with other members of the Northern Iowa Student Government about her work on updating the Social Policy Presentation given to UNI fraternity and sorority members including the adoption of hazing, diversity and sexual assault statements. Joining virtually on Zoom, Director of First Year Students Bailey Klinkhammer broadly reported her progress with trying to make campus a more welcoming place for first year students. After these reports, the meeting swiftly adjourned.
NISG meets every week at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays in the University Room of Maucker Union. These meetings are free and open to the public. Anyone interested in becoming involved in NISG and the activities of the organization can visit nisg.uni.edu for supplemental information or check back in next week’s issue for more ongoing coverage related to NISG, their initiatives and up-to-date organization news.