ASG to introduce first legislation of the year with safety bills

Marisa Maldonado

After four meetings without introducing any new bills, tonight’s Associated Student Government meeting will include the introduction of at least five pieces of legislation.

Members of the Student Services Committee will present two bills in response to campus concerns about safety following the Oct. 8 assault of a jogger on the Lakefill.

The first bill calls for general improvements to campus safety including lighting, the Escort Service and campus-wide shuttles.

The second bill addresses the maintenance of campus emergency phones.

Student Services Vice President Courtney Brunsfeld said the first bill expands on the plan for improved lighting that University President Henry Bienen presented to parents Saturday morning.

“This bill doesn’t stop at lighting,” said Brunsfeld, a Weinberg junior. “We want to improve (campus safety) all the way around.”

Noreen Khalid, a former senator who co-wrote the first bill, said administrators ignored members of Women’s Coalition last year when they called for increased safety measures on campus. According to Khalid, administrators said at the time that there was not enough student interest.

“We’re trying to prove students care about this and students are concerned about this,” said Khalid, a Speech junior.

The plan proposed by administrators includes the installation of floodlights around dorms and further investigation of lighting problems on campus.

But Khalid said NU’s plan does not address the real problem with lighting on campus.

“Floodlights near your dorms are not what students need,” she said. “The lighting near your dorms is fine. It’s the Lakefill late at night, it’s the fact that the lights on Sheridan Road shine on the street and not the sidewalk.”

Khalid said she hopes the bill will be passed as emergency legislation at tonight’s meeting due to its timeliness.

“We feel a lot of students probably don’t even know the number for University Police on campus, and that’s a serious problem,” Brunsfeld said.

Senators have been riding the campus shuttles to record concerns, and Brunsfeld said she hopes the improvements to safety services will happen soon.

“Things like lighting we may not see for a while because it’s a big construction project and it’s a lot of money,” Brunsfeld said.

The second bill to be introduced Wednesday calls for better maintenance of emergency phones on campus and the installation of 15 new phones.

“A lot of students don’t feel that there are enough of them or the ones that are there don’t exactly work,” Brunsfeld said.

The 45 phones on campus are not always noticeable because the casing on the lights is often dirty, which blocks the light, Brunsfeld said.

In other action on Wednesday, the Academic Committee will present a bill calling for the creation of a subcommittee to have input in the faculty hiring process. The 12-member subcommittee would comprise both ASG members and students from the six undergraduate schools, Academic Vice President Ebo Dawson-Andoh said.

Although students have helped informally with faculty hires in the past, the subcommittee will help formalize student input, he said.

ASG Academic Committee members want input to be “more than just an occasional happening, it’s something that’s more of a mainstay,” said Dawson-Andoh, a Weinberg junior. “This school is known for its quality education. For that sake, students should be able to voice their input.”

All three bills must earn the approval of the Rules Committee before they can be presented to the Senate.

Senators also will hear the introduction of two External Relations Committee bills calling for a parking guide and a guide to off-campus housing.

The bills were supposed to be introduced last week but were pushed back a week because of fall funding.