ASG says MLK Day team will show student interest

Rani Gupta

Associated Student Government appointed three members Wednesday to its ad hoc Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee.

The committee, created by ASG last week, will consist of three past or present members of ASG and four students with no ASG ties.

ASG intends for the committee to compensate for the Senate’s February ruling that removed the clause requiring 2 percent of the Student Activity Fund to be allocated to MLK events.

“We unilaterally agreed that we should do something to show that the student body is monetarily committed to MLK Day,” said ASG President and Weinberg senior Adam Humann.

Chavis Richardson, For Members Only coordinator, said he believes ASG still recognizes that MLK Day is an important day. “Having an event is important for all students, not just African-American students.”

The four non-ASG members will be appointed at next week’s Senate meeting.

Medill freshman Mike Blake, an 1835 Hinman senator, wanted to be on the committee “because of how controversial the issue is on campus. When I saw the 2 percent eliminated, I thought (the committee) was the best option posed to ASG and the student body as a whole.”

Blake said the committee could offer more flexible programming in some ways. With the repeal of the 2-percent clause, he said, programming could be scheduled not just for two weeks, but throughout the month of January.

According to Blake, the elimination of the 2-percent rule prompted student concerns that ASG members would become “pawns to the administration” and that the administration’s MLK programming would reign supreme.

But Blake believes that the creation of the committee will alleviate these concerns.

“(The committee) shows that MLK seriously matters to us,” he said. “And it matters to us because it matters to the student body.”

Nitin Wadhwani, a Student Activities Finance Board account executive and Weinberg junior, joined because he said the committee would allow him to oversee programming while remaining in ASG.

“I hope to provide a new mechanism that replaces the 2-percent mechanism,” he said.

Weinberg sophomore Tiffany Berry, a past FMO senator and current FMO administrative treasurer, said her main goal as a member of the committee will be to expand student group programming and increased attendance at student group events.

“As students we talk about how we want more time for MLK Day,” she said, “But how are we showing our passion behind these demands?”

Berry said the administration would be forced to respond to increased student attendance and programming.

“We have to show we’re committed and want the university to be committed,” she said.

“One of the university’s biggest fears is that if they give us this day off, we won’t know what to do with it,” Berry said. “If we bring quality programming, they will know that we won’t just let that day dwindle away.”