SGA pays respects for late Fire Chief

Speaker+of+the+Senate+Andrew+Mueller+presides+over+the+Student+Government+Association+as+it+discusses+a+proposition+to+pay+respects+for+the+late+Macomb+Fire+Chief+Andy+Taylor.
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SGA pays respects for late Fire Chief

Speaker of the Senate Andrew Mueller presides over the Student Government Association as it discusses a proposition to pay respects for the late Macomb Fire Chief Andy Taylor.

Speaker of the Senate Andrew Mueller presides over the Student Government Association as it discusses a proposition to pay respects for the late Macomb Fire Chief Andy Taylor.

Mike Frederiksen

Speaker of the Senate Andrew Mueller presides over the Student Government Association as it discusses a proposition to pay respects for the late Macomb Fire Chief Andy Taylor.

Mike Frederiksen

Mike Frederiksen

Speaker of the Senate Andrew Mueller presides over the Student Government Association as it discusses a proposition to pay respects for the late Macomb Fire Chief Andy Taylor.

Kayla Trail

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Members of the Western Illinois University Student Government Association passed their first Resolution in new business that pays respects to the late Fire Chief Andrew Taylor.

College of Education and Human Services Senator Lukas Urbane is the author behind this and said he did it to “show support” to Taylor as the relationship that the students of Western have with the city of Macomb and it’s officials is a “very unique relationship.”

Student Tenant Union Senator Tyler Kendall agreed and said that when Urbane approached him about this resolution, he thought it was a “great idea.”

“Chief Taylor was a professor here on campus with fire science classes,” Kendall said. “He was an outstanding member of the community and he really had a big impact on everyone in this community. I think it’s a great idea for us to post our condolences and let his family and the city of Macomb know that we send our condolences.”

The resolution passed unanimously. In other SGA news Unity Senator Natasha Kelch spoke on behalf of Unity and discussed the importance and significance of Unity on campus.

“I’m a queer individual of many different sorts, so I feel comfortable speaking about this,” Kelch said. “Unity if you didn’t know, is the LGBTQIA+ organization on campus, meaning: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual/ally and plus because there are 26 letters in this acronym and even I don’t know all of them. We are one of the older organizations on campus; we are also one of the larger ones as well. Western is the first university to officially recognize a LGBQA organization in the country so that’s really cool. Western has a very long history of acceptance and Unity has been here for awhile, it’s part of the culture just as much as any Greek organization.”

Kelch also explained why it is so important that Unity has a seat on SGA.

“It is important to be educated and knowledgeable (about Unity and what they stand for) because we are you guys,” Kelch said. “We are your friends, we are your colleagues (and) we are the students in class next to you. My job is not to preach. Unity is not to preach to anybody or change their opinion, but it is to share our truth with you guys. It is also important because our world is changing and it’s in the media; gangs, movies and TV shows, especially Netflix. There’s some nice stuff there. Our world is not exactly made for individuals like us, so it’s important to take that in and realize that when
things are said like ‘that’s so gay.’”

After that Josh Defibaugh then spoke about how students should start donating books to prisoners.

“Russia, China, Ukraine, Brazil – they all jail people less often than the United States does,” Defibaugh said. “A high prison population coupled with ridiculous drug laws and other sort of things creates high rates of prison recidivism, that’s the likelihood of someone being arrested after they’re actually released from prison. According to the National Institute of Justice, within three years of a prisoner’s release, 67 percent of all prisoners are likely to be rearrested. Within five years, over 75 percent are actually going to be rearrested, and of those arrested, 54 percent are actually going to be arrested just after their first year.”

Defibaugh said that donating books to prisoners can help in the long run.

“Expanding a prison’s library expands opportunities for education,” Defibaugh said. “Books help you do a lot of things like pass the time, increase the language and vocabulary skills of a lot of prisoners and more importantly, they prepare prisoners for tests and exams like the GED and the SAT
that helps them land more jobs.”

Defibaugh proposed that students set up collection bins and then someone can then take those bins of books to book donation programs that are set up around the state of Illinois.

“I think education is probably one of the biggest factors affecting our recidivism rates,” Defibaugh said. 

Mattea Scanlan, the president of Western’s All Volunteer Effort (WAVE) spoke about Make A Difference Day,
which will be held this Saturday.

Rachel Barr, college of business and technology senator, spoke about the Fall Leadership Conference that will be happening
on Oct. 29 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“The theme is ‘The Power of You,’ so it comes with a T-shirt,” Barr said. “Lunch and breakfast is served and it could be something you can put on your resume.”

Student Member of the Board of Trustees, Wil Gradle spoke about how he and SGA President Dovile Svirupskaite plan on pairing up with the Quad Cities campus SGA president to discuss ideas and how to learn from one another.

“This Thursday Dovile and I will be at the Campus Quality of Life committee meeting so we’ll be able to report for you what’s discussed in that meeting,” Gradle said. “Something that was brought up at the Board (of Trustees) meeting that requires a little bit of context, if you think back to the June 10 Board meeting, there was lots of discussion in the long-term plan and the strategic plan for the university. Particularly in the face of scarcity of financial resources for us, the university took a new approach to try and plan for the future and what that master plan looks at, so what I brought up at the Board meeting is I want to see a greater student input in the creation of the long-term strategic plan. I’m in the process of working with Dovile as well as the Quad City’s SGA President, Austin, to make sure that the student input is heard in the creation of the long-term plan, so as those meetings start I’ll be sure
to keep you guys up to speed.”

Gradle also wanted to give thanks and appreciation to Western professors, as there has been an increase in books put on reserve for students by their professors.

“The number of books themselves in the reserve from last fall to this fall have increased 70 percent,” Gradle said. “There are 892 resources that professors paid for so students can access. Ten thousand checked out, nearly 11,000, I want to give credit to those professors who participated in that. That makes a huge difference in the student experience in being able to access all of those resources to be successful. The Council of Academic Advisors have stepped up in the course of the last year and a half, they are currently on phase four of a five-phase plan to offer $7,000 in book scholarships for students. They’re doing all of the fundraising out-of-pocket amongst the academic advisors, so even though they don’t really have any obligation to, they’re going out of their way to ensure that textbooks for students are affordable.”

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