Student government elects first Speaker of the Senate


Sabrina Yan

Sam LeRoy, the first speaker of the senate for the new Illinois Student Government, gave a speech on Jan. 18. LeRoy retained his position in student government after an uncontested race.

By Gillian Dunlop, Staff Writer

Sam LeRoy, a junior in Business,  is serving as the first ever speaker of the senate for the new Illinois Student Government.

As stipulated in the newly passed constitution, a speaker of the senate was created as a way to help establish a division of labor within the government.

“What we have right now is a constitution that has a very skeletal framework of how our system will operate,” LeRoy said.  “What I hope to do is set the the precedence that the role of the speaker is someone who is going to be visible in every part of the work that the senate does.”

Under the previous constitution, the president presided over the weekly government meetings in addition to his executive duties.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” student body President Ron Lewis said in an email. “I loved chairing meetings, because you learn a lot with dealing with certain situations under parliamentary procedure.”

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Part of LeRoy’s goals for the semester is to make sure each senator feels heard in the meetings.

“The speaker role is not one that dictates legislation,” he said. “The speaker’s job is to go out there and make sure people are being heard and getting all of the ideas as possible.”

Although to some in the senate, the new constitution was an exciting concept since the beginning, LeRoy originally hesitated to support it, specifically electing the president by a popular vote.

“When (the committee) went back and wrote a second draft, it really was that division of labor that made me gravitate toward it and vote for this constitutional reform,” LeRoy said. “I think it’ll allow me and Ron Lewis to do our jobs effectively.”

LeRoy said that before the role of the speaker was created, it was difficult for the president to do holding both jobs. Vice President – internal Spencer Haydary agreed that at it was challenging.

“We thought it’d be better to divide the responsibilities and the power across the branches,” Haydary said.

LeRoy is looking for the current constitution to last the new government indefinitely.

“My number one goal is that I want this to be the last time the student government here ever has to go through the constitutional reform process,” LeRoy said. “We’ve had a lot of trouble gaining legitimacy in the campus community, because we’ve been changing the constitution every 10 years or so.”

During the meeting in which LeRoy was elected, several senators voiced their support for him. They commended his experience and said he’d make a great speaker.

“Sam LeRoy is an amazing leader and I truly believe he will thrive with the new speaker position,” Lewis said. “He’s a great guy all around.”

Handary shared this sentiment.

“I think he’s extremely qualified,” he said. “You’d be hard pressed to find someone more passionate or committed.”

LeRoy said he responded emotionally upon hearing the support from colleagues at Wednesday night’s meeting.

“Being chosen to be the first speaker of the Illinois Student Government is an experience I’m really going to cherish,” he said. “I honestly got choked up a little bit.”

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