TSG Senate Pro Tempore Colin Saltry stepped up at the end of last semester to take over former Senate President Jeff Dempsey’s place after his abrupt resignation. But, the new leader is no stranger to controversy.
At the end of the Fall 2009 semester, senior political science major Jeff Dempsey stepped down as Senate president, leaving Senate Pro Tempore Colin Saltry with big shoes to fill for the legislative branch of Temple Student Government.
TSG President Kylie Patterson said she looks forward to working with Saltry in his new capacity as Senate president.
“His different experiences really give him insight into TSG on a constitutional level,” she said. “I think [the Student Life Committee] has given him a perspective on administration and student life issues.”
Saltry participated in community service, speech and debate teams and eventually became president of his graduating class while attending Scranton High School.
His extracurricular involvement carried over to his college career at Temple, where he began in Fall 2008. As senate clerk, he instituted an organized system to keep track of the dialogue at each meeting. While serving as chairman of the Student Life Committee, Saltry supported a variety of bills, including the Green Fee and the Condemnation of Parliamentarian Geert Wilder’s Main Campus visit, and he co-authored the agreement for the Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, Hillel and Temple Students for Israel to meet each semester.
Saltry was also active in the Temple Towers housing investigation after a March 2009 incident in which students were notified about the possibility of having as many as eight persons in a unit. The ongoing investigation is expected to be finished and reported next month.
“When anybody has a concern, I try to help out and do my best,” Saltry said.
Saltry’s high school friend and classmate Joey Daniels described him as “official.”
“He had everything organized and lined up,” Daniels said, adding that Saltry has a knack for charming people through his humor and singing Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs.
This side of Saltry is further highlighted by an incident that landed both Saltry and Daniels, the class vice president, in a bit of trouble at their high school during the April 2008 presidential primaries: The pair skipped classes and left school grounds to attend an Obama campaign event the day before the Pennsylvania primary election. They spoke with Obama, then a senator for Illinois, who wrote them excuse notes.
“I was like, ‘Come on, it’s a presidential nominee. Let’s go.’” Daniels said. “You need to twist [Saltry’s] arm a little bit to break a rule, but he broke them.”
Despite the absence notes written by the future president, the two truants were reprimanded with a one-day suspension for sneaking off. Later, they became legends in their town after MSNBC and the Washington Post both publicized their story of skipping school to meet the presidential nominee.
But the suspension almost cost Saltry his class president title.
“I was put on ‘double secret probation,’ but I got to stay on as president,” Saltry said. “We actually got asked to be on The Tonight Show the day that article came out, [but] my dad convinced me it would have been a bad idea. I should have ignored him. It would have been awesome.”
When Saltry isn’t working hard for TSG, he said he enjoys having a few laughs with friends.
“I may look like I’m 20 years old,” Saltry said. “But I’m actually a 45-year-old man on the inside.”
Joshua Fernandez can be reached at email@example.com.