City may stall NU Lagoon project

One of Evanston’s most powerful politicians told students on Wednesday night that if they approached him, he would try to put obstacles in the way of Northwestern administrators’ plans to build on campus.

Ald. Arthur Newman (1st) told Associated Student Government members that he would consider changing zoning ordinances to prevent the university from building east of Sheridan Road without receiving a special use permit from Evanston City Council.

Before receiving the permit, the university would have to participate in an open hearing before the Evanston City Council, allowing student input to enter the discussion, he said.

“It’s very unfortunate that people here were not consulted about filling in the Lagoon,” Newman said. “The leadership of ASG must demand that the administration meaningfully consult with students about what this campus is going to look like.”

Zoning ordinances prevent NU from building west of Sheridan Road without receiving the special use permit. The university is free to build anywhere east of Sheridan Road, including on the Lagoon.

Newman said he would not prevent the university from filling in about 20 percent of the Lagoon unless students demand the council take action.

“When it comes to developing land, the administration doesn’t want to consult with anybody,” Newman said. “If the zoning were changed, the university would have to go through a very public process to build anything (on the Lagoon).”

Newman also highlighted the past projects jointly undertaken by the city and ASG, such as budgeting $650,000 for next year to add street lighting, an action he said was prompted by students lobbying the council for the funds after an attack on the Lakefill last fall.

After Newman left, senators passed emergency legislation asking NU’s Office of the Registrar to implement advanced class search features in CAESAR before students begin registering for Fall Quarter classes on Monday.

With Senate’s OK, the changes will be implemented Sunday, said Tamara Kagel, ASG’s academic vice president.

The new interface includes searches by time, day, instructor and course catalogue number, which were features of Brutus, an unauthorized class search engine that briefly appeared on the HereAndNow Web site in November 2001.

Brutus, which was designed by McCormick senior Matt Lineen, gained popularity during its limited use by students, and ASG members pushed for similar search capabilities from the university.

“We’ve been working on these four options for a long time,” said Kagel, a Speech sophomore. “The Registrar’s Office has been wonderful by taking student initiatives and incorporating them into its student services.”

Senators also failed a constitutional amendment that would make campuswide student referendums binding for two years instead of four years.

Matt McCormick, a senator who co-sponsored the amendment, said two years would allow ASG to better gauge student opinion on important issues..

Mike Blake, 1835 Hinman senator and a Medill sophomore, offered an amendment to the bill to make the change to three years, which he said would add stability to the system.

Both Blake’s amendment and the constitutional amendment failed, with the latter coming up one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

At the end of the Senate meeting, Kemper Hall Sen. Mike Fong said he would prolong the debate by moving to reconsider the amendment at next week’s senate meeting.

Senators also passed a bill recognizing Asian-American Heritage Month. Seven other bills were introduced at the meeting proposing to:

_Ѣ post an interactive landlord guide online with a searchable database of off-campus housing;

_Ѣ implement a computerized tracking system for university shuttles using the Global Positioning System;

_Ѣ survey students about removing the advantage given to students with Advanced Placement credits in the course registration process;

_Ѣ provide a campuswide Thanksgiving dinner for Northwestern students staying in Evanston for the holiday;

_Ѣ launch an advertising campaign to encourage students to fill out CTECs online;

_Ѣ convert under-used study carrel areas in NU’s library into study lounges with couches;

_Ѣ and host a Web site listing undergraduate research opportunities on the ASG server.