ISS should continue representing diverse range of individuals at University

The Illinois Student Senate elected Damani Bolden, junior in ACES, to be its new student body president — and we are thrilled about his and the other senators’ transition. It’s time to turn a new leaf, to restart, rethink and re-evaluate.  

The executive board elections symbolize a new chapter for ISS and its commitment to continue representing the needs and perspectives of the student body.  

Although this editorial board has criticized ISS about a range of issues as we disagree with each other’s actions and perspectives on some campus issues, we can agree that both organizations make important contributions to the University. We both have a voice here. 

Sometimes our criticism can overshadow everything else ISS does, and it’s the good work the senate has done that we hope continues after the transition Wednesday. 

As far back as January 2012, former student body President David Pileski said the Student Code should guarantee medical amnesty for students. This would solidify an unwritten law ensuring amnesty for students who require medical attention because of alcohol or drugs. It would protect the caller and the victim, even if they are underage, so long as both appropriately cooperate with authorities.  

In early March, ISS passed a resolution in support of the Service Employees International Union Local 73 when food service and building service workers went on strike to secure fair contracts.

After the March 24 snowstorm, several senators were upset with how the University handled class cancellations. Last week, ISS was scheduled to vote on a resolution that would grant the power to excuse students’ attendance in emergency situations, such as the previous snowstorm that was responsible for 531 incidents on Interstate 57, to the offices of the chancellor and the provost. Although the vote was turned over to the Committee on Campus Affairs, the senate has championed this bill for months.

ISS has an obligation to speak loudly, but more importantly to be heard; its good work has been and should continue to be post-Wednesday evening. 

By supporting the students that are hesitant to seek necessary medical attention for them or others because they fear getting in trouble, ISS has stood up for them. 

By supporting the food service and building service workers despite the University’s apprehensiveness to negotiate, ISS has stood up for them. 

By supporting the students that trekked through dangerous driving conditions during the snowstorm because the University did not cancel classes until 1:25 a.m. the next morning, ISS has stood up for them. 

This is what we want to see from a student senate.

Medical amnesty, SEIU and emergency situations — these are the types of topics that students want to see being addressed. Topics that are relevant to this campus, relevant to the community and, most importantly, that directly influence our experiences as students. 

ISS has proved that it is more than just representative of the student body, but of the employees and workers that contribute to the functioning and well-being of this University as well. 

We encourage ISS — the newly elected executive board and student body President Damani Bolden — to continue its efforts in representing the diverse range of individuals that are a part of this University — whether it is students, professors, service workers, researchers or administrators.