VP & senator resign

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

At the Nov. 18 Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) Senate meeting, Vice President Renae Beard and Senator Heather Applegate both resigned from their respective positions.

Beard, women and gender studies graduate student, had won the position alongside President Katie Evans, senior political science major, in a runoff election last March. Requests for comment from Beard were met with an official statement, in which she announced her resignation “in the spirit of unity, respect, integrity and good will.”

The resignations, which went into effect immediately, came a week after the proposal of a bill to form a committee to investigate a list of allegations compiled against President Evans. If the bill had passed, the goal of the investigative committee would have been to conclude whether or not the allegations leveled against President Evans were grounds for impeachment. The bill failed in a 4-15-2 vote.

The rejection of this bill was the primary catalyst for Applegate’s decision to resign.

“I just expected people to value the knowledge of what’s going on and to evaluate the provided evidence for the allegations, rather than immediately write it off as a communication issue,” Applegate said. “I do not fault senators individually, but, rather, the body as a whole. And, because of that, I resigned.”

Bennett said that NISG is moving forward, trying to focus its attention on issues on campus such as discrimination and communication between students and the administration. According to Bennett, the resignation of Beard and Applegate is now an additional focus, but has not taken a front seat to the other issues.

“We just have an additional priority now, which is to regain a sense of community and trust in the student government and move forward,” Bennett said.

One of the first steps in moving forward that the organization is taking is finding a new vice president. Bennett said that although elections for next year’s-positions will be held in February, the current administration will be in office until April.

According to NISG Director of Public Relations Alex Stepanek, the vice president application is currently open through Dec. 10 at 5:00 p.m. After that point, interviews will be conducted, and a new vice president will be appointed if they are approved by the senate. If no one is approved, then applications will once again re-open.  The application can be found on the front page of NISG’s website, at www.uni.edu/nisg.

Bennett admitted that despite these efforts to move forward, the bill proposal and subsequent resignations did result in some tension throughout the organization. However, Danielle Massey, NISG senator, emphasized NISG members’ ability to maintain mutual respect for one another.

“We [senators] respect that people are going to have different opinions and that they’re going to see situations in different ways,” Massey said. “It just depends on who you are as a person. Every single senator cared. And we respect each other for that.”

“This is not a subject to be taken lightly […] this is something that has caused a lot of conflict for a lot of people,” Applegate said. “People are still very sensitive about it, as they should be. This is not something that is very palatable. And it’s not something that is fun. No one did this because it was fun. The entire situation, and all the people involved, should be treated with the utmost respect because they are still people and they are still students.”