Winter break brings time for reflection on dynamic semester

NICK FISHER, Executive Editor

Well here we are, folks. A semester’s worth of coursework culminates with finals next week. That should make this week “dead week,” a brief period of rest before the last go ‘round, right? Wrong. As I’m sure you already knew, or have found out, it doesn’t work that way at UNI.

Today’s issue marks the final edition of Northern Iowan for the semester, and what a semester it has been! We’ve had some highs: students raising voices against discriminatory behavior and administrative neglect, as well as an administration that seems willing to listen. Time will tell what action this listening will yield, and we will provide continued coverage.

We’ve had lows: we’ve experienced the loss of fellow students, two of whom took their own life. The mental health crisis is just that: a crisis, and I’m glad to see students coming together to speak at a panel  about it as we layout the paper on yet another Wednesday night.

These two issues really put into perspective a third major story that we’ve devoted time to covering at the NI: the quarrels going on within NISG (which appears to have leveled off since break).

Supposed logical fallacies aside, I believe I speak for many in saying I’d like to not only see NISG continue to tackle campus-wide issues, but to really come together and focus on discrimination and student health as priorities for the spring semester and beyond. I’m happy to see that, in statements made to the NI, NISG seems eager to focus on these issues as well.

However, there is something I’d like to address with the recent events surrounding NISG in the hopes of putting this case to rest. And this something is in regards to the letter from the editor published just prior to break (Nov. 19) titled, “Inform the students and their senators.”

In this piece, I addressed what I saw as confusing statements made by senators in the Nov. 11 meeting during which NISG voted on a bill that would form a committee to investigate allegations made against President Katie Evans and whether they were grounds for impeachment (see Nov. 19 issue). Vice President Renae Beard, who resigned a week later along with Senator Heather Applegate following the vote’s failure to pass, had compiled the list against Evans.

In this piece, given a misunderstanding of the timeline, I made some accusations against certain senators. I claimed they were misinformed, and that perhaps they didn’t even see the list prior to voting but only heard of what the allegations contained secondhand — the way the public, myself included, has heard of them.

However, I was later informed that the senators had an “informal” meeting Monday, Nov. 9 before the Wednesday vote in which they “spent hours informally discuss[ing]” the allegations against Evans. Requests for an attendance record of the meeting were ignored, but I do have reason to believe almost all of the senators attended that meeting.

Had I been informed of the meeting (and exactly who attended) when it had taken place — which, I must point out, should be standard transparency protocol of any governmental body — my letter would not have been published. In the future, if NISG wants to hold “informal,” closed-door meetings, I ask that they notify the public the meeting is taking place and that it is informal and closed to the public.

This being said, I did submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the list of grievances against Evans, and this was, ultimately, denied. This limits my options going forward, and, barring any new developments, my efforts to obtain the list will be protracted.

Thank you all for your desire to stay informed about UNI, and I hope you continue to pick up the NI next semester.