SGA elects new Speaker of the Senate

Erika Ward

The Western Illinois University Student Government Association (SGA) met on Tuesday and elected Jacob Tomlinson as the new Speaker of the Senate for the upcoming year.

 The vote was followed by presentations from the three candidates for the position.

 Nominees were permitted four minutes each for speeches.

 The first, David Brooks, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said he believes that his psychology background could help him in SGA.

 “I am thoroughly interested in human behavior and, most importantly, human motivation,” Brooks said.  “In this senate, motivation is key.”

 Brooks, who has been in SGA for two years, has plans to present legislation soon regarding the plus/minus system that Western uses in establishing grade point average (GPA).

 “This legislation will be used to change the plus/minus system,” Brooks said.  “Not to remove it, but to simply change it for the student body, to make it a better system.”

 The next nominee to speak, Jacob Tomlinson, said he believes that SGA is an outlet for leaders on campus.

 “To me, SGA is not only a group of determined individuals seeking out the betterment of all things campus related, but also a group of tremendous leaders who have no fear about the challenges that will come up,” Tomlinson said.  “To me, SGA is an outlet for student leaders like you and me to do everything we do in this room: debate, question, and ultimately pass meaningful legislation that impacts all of us at Western.”

The third and final nominee for the speaker of the senate, Andrew Kauppi, was nominated earlier that evening and had to give an impromptu speech.

“I do want this position because I feel like I could fill it and do a good job,” Kauppi said.

Kauppi, if elected to Speaker, said that he would make himself as available as possible to help members with legislation.

Kauppi also believes that he has sufficient knowledge of parliamentary procedure because of his time in Inter-Hall Council (IHC).

Michael Quigley, Student Member to the Board of Trustees, advocated for Tomlinson, said that he would be a good choice because of his knowledge of parliamentary procedure and experience writing legislation.

“He knows the procedure very, very well,” Quigley said.  “Another thing that stuck (out) to me was that after his bike lane legislation passed, he actually was emailing the correct people and making sure these legislations were actually happening.”

After a brief discussion about the candidates, members of SGA voted to elect one of the candidates to be Speaker of the Senate for the next year.  The votes were tallied and the Speaker of the Senate for next year will be Tomlinson.

David Dunn, president of SGA, reported that he has been in discussion with Mayor Inman in hopes of the vice president of the organization becoming an unofficial member of the Macomb City Council to advocate for Western students.

“We had a great conversation, and I will actually be testifying for the City Council government,” Dunn said.

Members also voted and appointed John Kennealy to Student member to IT Governance.

A bill asking the university to update the Student Code of Conduct and make the document more clear and easier for students to understand was also passed.

Another bill was proposed that will allow students in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and other school documents to postpone a student’s judicial hearing. This allows time for a student representative to be present at the hearing. The bill was passed.