ASG to consider bed lofting, election reform bills at meeting

Matthew Defour and Matthew Defour

Vice President for Student Affairs William Banis will address Associated Student Government senators at their final meeting of Fall Quarter tonight as they vote on five bills and introduce six more bills to be voted on next quarter.

Banis attends two or three Senate meetings every year, and his attendance offers ASG a direct link to the administration, Speaker of the Senate Bassel Korkor said.

“Senators will get a chance to ask questions about campus issues and a lot of ideas they have,” said Korkor, a Weinberg junior. “It’s basically one of the (top) members of the administration directly addressing students.”

ASG will vote on a bill introduced Nov. 14 by Weinberg sophomore C.J. Willey that asks the university to allow the lofting of beds in dorm rooms.

Willey said many of his constituents have wanted to change the current university policy that prohibits lofting. He added that Banis’ presence at the meeting is significant because he will make the final decision on the matter.

“The lofting bill is important, not only because it allows students more creativity within their dorm room, but also because it sets a precedent for the administration’s willingness to work with ASG and to address student concerns,” Willey said.

Student Services Vice President Courtney Brunsfeld said the bill will pass in the Senate because students favor the change, but it will be difficult to implement because of opposition by key administrators, including Banis.

“The lofting bill is interesting because the author has done more research than (is done for) the average bill,” Brunsfeld said. “It is one of the most controversial bills that has come up in Senate.”

Among six new legislative bills presented tonight will be a package regarding student voting procedures for local and national elections.

The first voting bill will suggest the creation of a new polling place in Norris University Center for students on South Campus, part of the sixth precinct in the First Ward. In the 2000 election, the Evanston Public Library had the largest turnout in the First Ward even though it was the smallest facility, according to External Relations Chairwoman Jada Black.

“We’re very committed to encouraging students to know about their voting rights in Evanston, and to making it easier for students to participate in the local politics that affect them on a daily basis,” said Black, a Medill junior.

The second bill calls upon the university to provide more information on student voting options. The third bill seeks to combine students voting in precincts five and nine in the Seventh Ward.

Other bills on the agenda include:

• increasing the number of bike parking spaces available at the Technological Institute, Kresge and Swift halls and other locations;

• updating the WildCARD Advantage Web site to correct information on local discounts;

• establishing a relationship between the ASG and Evanston Small Business Association;

• providing students with a comprehensive list of specialized academic programs; and

• changing the online student directory so the default setting only allows people with network passwords to access personal information.

The meeting will take place in the Guild Lounge of Scott Hall, because last year’s Senate speaker assumed Reading Week was right after Thanksgiving and did not reserve the Northwestern room in the Norris, ASG’s usual meeting place.