At yesterday’s Senate meeting, Senate President Jeff Dempsey announced his resignation.
Last night’s TSG Senate meeting was not only the final meeting of the semester, but also the final meeting for Jeff Dempsey as senate president.
“In June 2006 I moved to Philadelphia, leaving behind friends and family,” Dempsey began his resignation speech.
He then described his first semester at Temple as “one of depression and loneliness,” but said during the following semester, a peer asked him about starting a student organization for students with disabilities.
“Little did I know, that in that moment I began a journey that took me from a student organization to one of the most powerful positions within Temple Student Government, a position that allowed me to speak for the student body,” he said. “Ladies and Gentleman, that journey will come to an end on Dec. 19.”
For the duration of his speech, every individual in attendance at the meeting had their eyes and ears focused on Dempsey’s every word. A few students in the back, who were dozing during the Senate’s debate over a resolution to support Temple University Hospital’s nurses union, awoke and listened intently to Dempsey recount his experience with TSG and encourage the rest of the Senate to continue its hard work and “not be afraid to put yourself on the line, or to mess up or to be criticized.”
“I need not justify myself by giving you a list of accomplishments, or reiterating lessons you should have learned,” Dempsey said. “What I will say is that for better or worse, I led in the way that I wanted to, and that was true to myself.”
Dempsey gave advice to the executive board he said “treats the [Senate] with the sincerity that it deserves.”
“You should say what needs to be said, even if it’s not what wants to be heard,” Dempsey said. “You should lead this student government to bring change, to hold people accountable, to create standards and to achieve greatness.”
After the Senate meeting, Dempsey said successful people get to look back on things they built and see they’ve done a nice job. He considers himself to be fortunate enough to be able to do this with the Senate.
The part of the meeting where senators debated over whether or not to pass S09-5 — the resolution supporting Temple University Hospital Nurses and Allied Professionals and their potential strike against the hospital officials for not fixing the 6 to 8 patients per nurse ratio, and the disparagement clause they say is a gag clause — is one example of work on which Dempsey reflected.
Senators debated passionately about whether or not to support the bill, some saying that the nurses’ treatment is unfair and warrants support, while others requested more information and time to research the issue before voting. Ultimately, the senate voted with a majority of 16 to table the bill and give senators time to research the issue.
Seeing the Senate debate with fervor, Dempsey said, makes him proud to have been a part of TSG and the Senate.
“I hope they actually research [this issue],” he said. “I’m glad they’re strong, and that everyone has a mind of their own.”
Senators expressed appreciation for having Dempsey as a friend and colleague, and said they will miss working with him.
“I’m sad to see him go, he’s done a lot of hard work, and I want to see what Sen. [Colin] Saltry has to say and [where he’ll take the Senate],” said Monica Rindfleisch, a senator and junior math education major.
Saltry, a sophomore economics major and Senate chair for the Student Life Committee, as Senate pro tempore, will be filling in Dempsey’s shoes as Senate president next semester.
“I’m sad to see him go. Hopefully I can do as good of a job as he did,” Saltry said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Dempsey said he wanted to make sure everyone respected and recognized Saltry and his abilities as a leader.
“Colin Saltry is not just a friend, or a colleague, but someone that I, in many ways, look up to,” he said. “Your only concern should be that you will not have enough time to learn from him the way that I have and continue to.”
Joshua Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.