We love no other, so let our motto be…
By Carly Hawkins - Columnist
It's been a crazy season, a long one that for me started on Oct. 30 when I went to watch the Illinois basketball team scrimmage at Assembly Hall. But as I write this, on the last Thursday afternoon in March while the team is now in St. Louis practicing for their Final Four matchup on Saturday, I wish it could last a couple of months longer. Maybe a couple of more years, even.
At the very least, I hope it lasts until Monday night.
Now, I know I'm not on the sports page. And I'm the first to criticize the overemphasis on “student athletes” at D1 college campuses – especially for those gods of the cash cow sports, football and men's basketball – as opposed to the amazing amount of learning and research that goes on at American universities.
An article I read today decried the recognizability of star guard Dee Brown as opposed to Nobel Prize winner Anthony Leggett. And maybe that's a valid point – at an institution of higher learning, maybe we should have more regard for the great minds and not just the great players.
But let's be honest: Americans love their sports. We love the competition, the camaraderie, the spirit of sports – it's part of the American genetic makeup, I think. We thrive on competition and we always have.
College sports are the best of all possible worlds. These guys and girls are pure heart – some are playing for their education, like Illinois senior Jack Ingram, who will graduate with one of the most prestigious U of I degrees, electrical engineering. Some are playing for love of the sport and the school, like Illinois walk-on Fred Nkemdi.
Illinois men's basketball team this year has been absolutely exemplary in a show of sportsmanship and class. Nice guys don't always finish last – you can be the team with the guy who will go apologize for his flagrant foul because he didn't really mean to do it and still be the team that's 36-1 in the nation. That's on its way to the Final Four. That will graduate all of its seniors this year without anyone leaving early for the NBA. That's what college sports is all about, and the chance to see it happen week in and week out over the course of this season – and to have it be “our” team, for those of us die-hard, life-long, bleed the orange and blue, fans – is amazing.
As a girl who grew up near Champaign and whose father went to Assembly Hall games soon after it was first built, the bandwagon fans that this season has brought on can drive me crazy. But the feeling of solidarity among Illinoisans – city, suburb, downstate, red, blue, green – is unmistakable, and it's because of this dream season. When people start gathering on overpasses to watch the team bus go by, you know something special is happening.
It's something we'll all be able to talk about for a long time, something that everyone will be able to bring to the table with them – where were you the night of The Arizona Game? What did you do when Illinois was down by 15? How did you react when Deron hit that game-tying shot?
I really believe that the orange fever that has taken over the state in the past five months will have ramifications far beyond NCAA basketball. It has brought us all together in a way we won't soon forget and in a way that will carry over. Because we love our sports, especially when they're done this way, the right way.
Go Illini – let's hope by the time this is published you're getting fitted for your national championship rings. But I'm proud to be a fan either way.
On the ballot for the SGA elections to be held on April 13 and 14 will not only be candidates for executive office and the non-binding Greek Life referendum, but also, a proposal to revise the constitution which will be put to vote in front of the student body.
The substantive changes are by far undermined by the stylistic changes with the proposed constitution. The Constitution and Rules Committee, chaired by Sergeant at Arms Dan Kovats, along with my own suggestions and through deliberation of the entire government, was able to come together to move our burdensome twelve-page document into a more organized and streamlined seven and a half page constitution, while keeping an overwhelming majority of the substance and spirit of the current constitution intact.
There were, however, a few substantive changes that came out of the government through the revision process.
Of greatest contention, the GPA requirement for executive officers was lowered from a 3.0 to a 2.5. Sentiments expressed supporting this initiative in the government were threefold.
First, in past years, the SGA has had a difficult time filling its positions, and this year is no different. Since our government is having trouble filling the positions as is, the we felt it unwise to put yet another hurdle, by way of a GPA requirement, in the way of students running for a position on SGA.
Second, by moving the GPA requirement to a 2.5, we are moving more in line with the existing precedent for the Representative to the Board of Trustees, where the GPA requirement has been set for sometime at 2.5. Members of the government voted against requiring a 3.0 out of our Secretary, Treasurer, or Sergeant at Arms when the requirement for the BOT Rep is only a 2.5.
Finally, and I believe, most importantly, there was a philosophic argument that occurred in the SGA meeting where this initiative was proposed. Members in favor of moving the GPA requirement from a 3.0 to a 2.5, including myself, argued that it should be the students who vote for the candidates, and not the candidates' GPAs, which should dictate who the officers should be.
Another substantive change that came out of the constitutional discussions was moving the requirement to ratify constitutional amendments from majority to a two-thirds vote by the student body. In the three years that I have been at UIS, the SGA has had three different constitutions, and adding this extra restriction will hopefully keep any future frivolous changes to the constitution from occurring.
The final change to the constitution involved working out the difficult process that was initiated by our current constitution of having elections twice a year. Under the present system, only executive officers are elected during the spring, and as such, the SGA will be unable to attain quorum, and therefore, conduct SGA business, until the fall elections, which will be held, at the very earliest, in the middle of September.
To work through this problem, two items were changed in the proposed constitution. First, we allotted the authority to the executive committee both to appoint vital committee positions and to advise the administration when a quorum could not be attained, subject to review by the SGA when quorum becomes possible.
The second solution to this problem came by way of electing the college senators to office along with the executive officers in the spring, which, if the proposed constitution is approved, will occur next spring. By electing these other four positions, the SGA will have a total of nine positions elected at the end of the spring and will be able to begin work through the summer and early in the fall, before fall elections can be held. Still, the proposed system will keep open six positions to be elected in the fall, which would be open to all incoming transfer and first-year students.
The process of amending the constitution was one of honest debate with the best interests of the students and the university at heart, and I firmly believe that the document that we have up for vote represents the culmination of three years of constitutional revisions by the SGA. For these reasons, I urge you to vote in favor of the constitutional revisions on April 13 and 14.
If you would like to see the constitutional revision in its entirety, it can be accessed at www.uis.edu/sga . If you have any questions about the constitutional revisions, please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com .