ISS historian Guo complies 1st codex for public use since 1965

It was in the Orchard Downs student archives that Shao Guo discovered and dusted off the 1965 student government legislation code. This code was the last complete document to detail the history of an academic year in student government at the University — until now.

Upon finding this information, Guo, ISS historian and vice president-internal, was inspired to compile a codex.

“Sometimes there are complaints against ISS, (which say) that it does nothing,” Guo said. “However, that’s simply not true. They may not have the information off the top of their head, but this codex will help senators tell the student body exactly what they did in the past year.”

Guo said finding the information wasn’t too difficult because ISS prides itself on efficiently keeping records of meetings. He collected the information from recorded meeting minutes, meeting packets and articles written by The Daily Illini.

“I read about two thousand articles from The Daily Illini because they have always published information on what was happening in the student government,” he said.

Guo spent hours researching, writing and editing the document, but he said he didn’t mind the extra work.

“I am passionate about student government and history. I love the ISS, and when you love something, you pursue it,” he said.

Guo said his document is based slightly off of the format of the 1965 codex. The new document hosts a table of contents, which categorizes the 132 pages of passed motions, resolutions, bylaw amendments and other issues discussed by the senate.

Jim Maskeri, senator and senior in LAS, said he sponsored the resolution to create the historian position, but Guo has taken on additional responsibilities by documenting the evolution of the student government.

“This is very important because senators are only here for a limited time,” Maskeri said. “Looking back, we tend to repeat things. It’s important that we can look at our past to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes in the future.”

In comparison to other schools in the Big Ten, Guo said other student senates normally don’t have a historian position, although he thinks it is important to the senate. There is no cost associated with creating the codex.

The document will also be useful for reference after confusing meetings or when senators wish to review voting numbers, said Jenny Baldwin, ISS chief of staff and junior in LAS.

“It’s a great thing he put together,” she said. “It’s been years since it has been done, and now future classes and assemblies will be able to look back and reference what happened in ISS that year.”

Guo said the document will be an essential tool for senators to write better resolutions. He said this version of the codex is now available on the ISS website as a reference for the student body.

Guo summarizes the importance of this new document on the cover page of the codex, which quotes John Milton Gregory, the University’s first president: “No question more concerns the future of American colleges than that of the government of students.”

“(Gregory) would have loved to see that we still love the student government today, loved to see us grow up and turn into leaders,” Guo said.

Corinne can be reached at [email protected]