Slow start to campaigns

Over the years, ASG candidates have gotten tired of eating crow.

So now they want to kill them.

Associated Student Government presidential candidates discussed Monday the ways they would improve campus life before fewer than 10 spectators at Northwestern News Network’s first-ever debate. One of those improvements was Stefan Beck’s proposal that all crows on campus be eliminated.

Although this — and other candidates’ proposals — didn’t arouse much controversy, Beck, Adam Humann and Eric Svendsen each answered journalists’ questions and detailed their platforms.

With the Student Activities Fee set to increase by $11 per quarter this fall, the most controversial proposal was how the money should be spent.

Beck said all student groups should receive ASG funding. Eliminating ASG’s hierarchy of student organization would be the first step in the process, he said. ASG has three levels of recognition, each with different privileges, including funding and office space.

“(I’d like) more concrete things for student groups,” said Beck, who was a senator for North Mid-Quads and member of the Executive Committee last year. The Speech junior said student group guidelines need to be re-examined.

But Humann said Senate has a limited budget and cannot fund every student group. Money from the student activities fee will total about $830,000 next year and will be distributed among about three dozen groups.

“I won’t support funding for all student groups,” said Humann, ASG student services vice president and two-time senator. “That would be irresponsible.”

Svendsen gave no specific suggestions about how to change the funding process, but he said he would “be more supportive of student groups rather than critical.”

If he were elected, Svendsen said he would emphasize students’ rights and would bring more parking and good venues for student theater productions.

Meanwhile, Humann said he would reinvigorate the Lakefill — providing paddleboats for the Lagoon, an ice-skating rink and an outdoor amphitheater.

In addition to proposing that all student groups receive funding, Beck said NU should offer an optional personal finance class and kill the “menacing” crows on campus.

The three candidates agreed that ASG as an organization cannot increase student unity at NU.

“If you’ve ever been to a Senate meeting, you know that’s not the place for unity to stem from,” Beck said.

Added Svendsen: “My biggest problem with NU is student apathy. I’m as guilty as anyone and that’s why I want to step up.”

But Humann said he would try to build a stronger campus community by working with both ASG and student group leaders. He also said he would try to create better relationships between ASG, the administration and student groups.

“What I’m concerned about is being more effective in lobbying,” said Humann, who added he will meet with the General Faculty Committee, University President Henry Bienen and groups such as the Residential Hall Association and the Interfraternity Council. “If we lobby together, I think we will be more successful in getting what students want.”

During the debate, the candidates questioned each other about their platforms.

Svendsen asked Beck about his plan to kill the crows and offered his BB gun skills to help eliminate them.

“I really hate those things,” Beck said. “They really scare the bejesus out of me.”