SGA Seeks Representation on the Faculty Senate

For the first time in recent history, students at NEIU are aiming to have representation on the Faculty Senate.

Placing a student on that board was an initiative brought on by the Student Government Association (SGA). Both groups are NEIU’s shared governance program.

“It’s something we planned ever since we got into this administration, this new SGA. It’s important because we realize that students not only represent students but there are faculty members who can’t represent themselves, who are instructors that are not tenured. They have no representation. Not only they do not have representation, students really appreciate those instructors,” said SGA President Nick Martinez. “Anything that’s happening with faculty is also affecting the students.”

According to the Faculty Senate constitution, the first responsibility of the Senate is to secure participation from the faculty as authorized by the university regarding the development and recommendation of policies pertaining to subjects like admissions, retention and graduation.

University President Sharon Hahs holds an ex-officio (non-voting) position on the Faculty Senate, but is usually represented at meetings by Provost Helldobler.

Currently, members of the Faculty Senate as read in their constitution consist “of all tenured/tenure track faculty members; Chairs of academic departments who are classified as administrators by University governing policies; and faculty who serve as Resource Professionals.”

Martinez stressed the importance of SGA’s involvement in all bodies that are in the university. He said, “You can’t be a good student government if you don’t know what’s going on in your university.”

SGA Vice President Ricky Gutierrez said, “There is miscommunication amongst all bodies in the university…we need this.”

He talked about how the narrative of the everyday problems of students is important to include in the Faculty Senate.

As of now, there is no position for student representation in faculty governance, however, the Faculty Senate has appointed a subcommittee to draft a proposal for their inclusion and bring it to the table.

The subcommittee consists of Mark Melton, associate professor in special education and April Nauman, associate professor in literacy.

“There seems to be a lot of interest in non-voting membership of one or more students. I can’t speak for everyone,” said Faculty Senate Chair Erick Howenstine. “But I and other senators are excited to bring a student on board.”

While it is unlikely that students will have a voting membership in the senate, a non-voting member can still present motions, second motions and weigh in on motions to share their voice.

“We hope that, in time, an ex-officio membership would change to voting membership,” Martinez said.