On Wednesday, Nov. 3, the Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) congregated in the University Room of Maucker Union for their 12th regular meeting of the academic year.
After a sharp bang of the gavel by the Speaker of the Senate, Sam Caughron, the meeting opened with a presentation from graduate student Isabella Perksen. Coming from the UNI Office of Compliance and Equity, Perksen shared her work bringing the Green Dot bystander intervention program to UNI. The Green Dot program engages witnesses to interrupt situations that are imminently or potentially high-risk for violence, increases self-efficacy and provides skill building and specific strategies to increase the likelihood that trained individuals will actually intervene. By expanding the role of bystanders beyond reactiveness, the Green Dot program trains participants to engage in proactive behaviors that model and endorse norms that are incompatible with violence. The ultimate goal is not simply to react to potential violence as it is occurring but rather to simultaneously shift community norms that support the violence that is occurring. Perksen explained to the students that the first training in this violence prevention program will take place in January 2022 for staff and faculty then slowly be opened to interested students. Perksen also relayed the need for securing long-term funding for the project which she implored the NISG members for their help in doing so.
Following this presentation, the gathered audience was then treated to a smattering of weekly reports from various governmental positions. Most notably, Tim Perksen, Director of Public Relations, formally announced the launch of the new, revamped NISG website.
As the clock slowly approached 9 p.m., the NISG members turned their attention to the controversial items on the agenda consisting of four prospective pieces of legislation. The students heard for the second time, and voted on, two separate bills pertaining to the amendment of the NISG by-laws covered in this column last week. The first designated fund requests as non-controversial items on the official docket. This passed by a vote of 13-0-1. The second bill officially reestablished the Chief of Staff position. This bill passed by a vote of 12-1-1.
The students then listened to the reading for the first time of two other bills related to the amendment of the NISG by-laws once again. The first of these bills centered around allowing the Speaker of the Senate more time to appoint senators at the beginning of the academic year. The previous deadline was Labor Day, but this bill would make the new deadline Oct. 1. The second bill read for the first time concerned the removal of membership requirements for the Government and Legislative Affairs and External Relations senate committees. With no more agenda items, the meeting promptly 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.