NISG supreme court meets

JACOB MADDEN, News Editor | [email protected]

Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) has been a long standing resource for student organizations, but some students do not know that NISG has a supreme court.

The NISG Supreme Court held its first meeting of the year on Thursday, Oct. 6, in the presidential room of Maucker Union, where they began discussing many of the issues facing the identity of the Supreme Court.

According to the NISG constitution, the Supreme Court serves as one of the three branches of student government, modeled after the United States government.

The NISG constitution states that the Supreme Court shall consist of five students currently registered at the university: one chief justice and four associate justices. The justices all serve until they are no longer students at UNI.

According to senior social work major Nnamdi Nwaneri, who serves as the clerk of court, this is to help check and balance power within NISG.

“We are appointed to the position in order to maintain a high level of discipline and objectivity,” Nwaneri said. “We stay in that position for the rest of our college years […] As a result, we are immune to developing loyalty conflict because we are not looking forward to running for other positions.”

Additionally, the Supreme Court will also be working with a student supervisor this year, Jamison Whiting.

At the first meeting, several issues were identified for the supreme court. The justices decided that the vision of the court should take precedence over reviewing and editing the election rules this year.

Maggie Miller, junior political science and public relations double major, serves as the chief justice of the supreme court. During the meeting, Miller said that the last NISG presidential election illuminated huge flaws in the campaign rules that the court plans to address this year.

According to Miller, the constitution outlines three roles that the court is expected to play: the election commission, an investigative body for both student organizations, and the legislative and executive branches and a body to check the constitutionality of actions by the legislative and executive branches.

“We’re going to be expanding on [investigation and constitutionality] because we have these powers but we’re not sure how to enforce them or what to do with them,” Miller said.

Miller went on to say that this is the primary issue facing the supreme court this year

“If we’re going to have a trial, how are we going to investigate? Trying to figure out exactly how that is going to go,” Miller said. “I believe in doing things by the book, and we’re going to spell it out for the future.”

Ironing out the election rules and closing loopholes will make the election process smoother and less contentious, according to Miller.

Miller identified the court’s first issue in regards to visibility for both students and student organizations. Junior computer science and mathematics double major Tim Folkers said he was unaware that NISG had a supreme court.

Folkers said that further oversight on student organizations would “help curb unnecessary spending.”

Alexa Julsen, freshman deciding major, also didn’t know about the NISG supreme court and similarly called for more oversight.

“I think that [oversight] has more of an impact on people reporting things, having them realize it’s a serious issue like frauding [sic] money or something like that,” Julsen said.

Miller and Nwaneri both said the supreme court is trying to reestablish itself as a partner with the senate and the executive branch in order to create a better and more balanced student government to serve the students of UNI.