Alliance endorses positions for ASG

Sarah Warning

A new voice in campus politics made itself heard Wednesday night when the Progressive Alliance endorsed Rachel Lopez, Tamara Kagel and Sadiya Farooqui for three of the four ASG positions up for campuswide elections next week.

The fourth position, student services vice president, went unendorsed as alliance members said none of the three candidates would represent their interests well.

This was the alliance’s first foray into Associated Student Government elections. The alliance represents nine student groups: Amnesty International, Justice 4 All, Mayfest, Northwestern Open Campus Coalition, Northwestern Opposes War And Racism, Northwestern Students Against Sweatshops, The Protest, Rainbow Alliance, and Students for Environmental and Ecological Development.

Lopez, who was endorsed unanimously as a presidential candidate, impressed the alliance with her experience with student groups, according to a statement released by alliance members.

“Her strong backing for Latino studies and history with this issue have shown her effectiveness as a determined advocate,” the statement said.

Lopez, a Weinberg junior, was the only candidate who received votes from all nine alliance members.

“I really value this endorsement because it shows that people think I can represent them well, even though I’m not on (ASG’s Executive Board),” Lopez said.

Eight of the nine groups endorsed Farooqui, a Weinberg junior, for executive vice president. They applauded her ideas for student groups, particularly the call for an ASG program that would provide startup funds for B-status groups, which currently don’t receive money from ASG.

“(This will) prove a boon for the progressive community and the campus at large,” alliance members said.

Farooqui also proposed forming coalitions of student groups that are unrepresented in Senate to augment their voices. She said the endorsement process gave her the opportunity to display her leadership skills.

“There’s a difference between a leader and a politician, and this comes out during debates,” Farooqui said.

Academic candidate Kagel also received eight out of nine votes. Kagel, a Speech sophomore, put forth ideas for a Latino studies major, subsidization for tutoring and financial aid for summer school, all of which were well received.

Alliance members applauded her positive stance on a need for a dissection alternative for biology students.

Kagel said the alliance’s efforts are important for raising new issues.

“(The endorsement process) allowed me to concentrate on a certain area of issues that are not always visible at NU,” Kagel said. “It’s important that students thought of concerns that are out there and aren’t always heard at typical ASG debate.”

The alliance did not choose to endorse a candidate for student services vice president, saying no candidate represented their interests. While they liked Weinberg junior Tiffany Berry’s strong stance on multiculturalism, they “are concerned that she would not be a strong enough advocate for some other issues important to the progressive community.”

And although Weinberg sophomore Eileen Keeley made concrete proposals for recycling and alternative student publications, the alliance felt her platform “did not reflect these issues as a priority.” Alliance members said Weinberg sophomore Jason Lake’s proposals were “too vague.”

All candidates participated in hour-long debates Tuesday and Wednesday conducted by the alliance. Issues raised included increasing student involvement in administrative issues, trying to better connect ASG to the student body and working toward improving diversity at NU.

ASG-recognized student groups are not allowed to endorse candidates, but alliances can.

Presidential candidate Bassel Korkor blasted the endorsement process, accusing most of the alliance groups of “only getting involved with ASG during election time and funding time.”

“There are groups that are involved (with ASG) year round, and that gives them legitimate reason to speak up at time like this,” said Korkor, a Weinberg junior. “We’re here to build a community at Northwestern. … When I see them come together, it works against community.”