ASB keeps student funding

Torea Frey and Erin Ward

Alternative Spring Break survived a possible loss of funding at Wednesday’s Associated Student Government meeting when senators overturned a recommendation to demote the group — something they’ve only done twice in the last four years.

But while ASB was successful in pleading its case to senators, Art+Performance magazine and ACLU-NU failed to maintain their current status during ASG’s annual student group review. A+P magazine and Studio 22 were demoted from A to B status, meaning they cannot receive funding from the Student Activities Finance Board. ACLU-NU was derecognized as a student group.

SAFB recommended ASB’s demotion even after the group appealed its case Tuesday night. SAFB argued that the philanthropy organization should be ineligible for funding because it primarily conducts off-campus programming and selects students through an application process.

ASB sends students to participate in service projects throughout the country during Spring Break. Le’Jamiel Goodall, ASG’s financial vice president, said he was concerned that ASB’s programming could exclude some students.

“ASB’s primary purpose goes against the purpose of A status and against the purpose of the student activity fee,” said Goodall, a Communication senior.

ASB representatives passed out packets of letters supporting their cause and urged senators to overturn the recommendation, arguing that the group’s reach extends beyond Spring Break trips off-campus.

“The whole purpose of ASB is to … create a new community of diverse backgrounds and bring them back to campus,” said ASB co-director Melissa McGonegle, an Education senior.

McGonegle emphasized that ASB has been able to offer more trips and on-campus programming to the entire student body since the group gained A status five years ago.

“I’m very happy with how things went, although I didn’t want it to come to this,” McGonegle said. “But in the last few days, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support that has proven our program is vital to campus.”

Senators also voted to uphold the derecognition of ACLU-NU by a two-vote margin after a heated debate that questioned the validity of student group guidelines.

Nicole Mash, ASG executive vice president, recommended the derecognition of ACLU-NU because the group did not turn in its annual review application on time — an offense that is grounds for instant derecognition according to the student group guidelines.

Mash also said the group lacked organization and on-campus programming during the last two quarters.

ACLU-NU leaders said turnover in the position of their ASG account executive caused confusion and contributed to their disorganization. After the decision, ACLU-NU members chastised ASG for holding itself to a different standard than the student groups it governs.

“I love how (ASG) has mega financial misconduct and gets off with a slap on the wrist,” said Greg Phillips, ACLU-NU’s acting president. “We turn in our application one day late and get derecognized.”

Senators also voted to maintain the Nugget Investment Group’s B-status designation and to derecognize both Globe and NUBrand, which could merge with AdShop.

Also at the meeting, two bills passed with no objections. One called for an expanded presence of Counseling and Psychological Services during New Student Week. The other supported the creation of a Middle Eastern studies major.

Senators also voted to pass two pieces of emergency legislation. The first bill calls for increased space for the Multicultural Center and will be sent to the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee for its Monday meeting.

The second was a resolution to be sent to the Evanston City Council that opposes the increase of city rooming house fees. ASG chose to table a resolution, sponsored by the Peace Project and 10 other student groups, opposing military action in Iraq until next week’s meeting.

Two additional bills were introduced to be voted upon next week. The first advocates recognizing classical foreign languages, such as Latin, as distribution requirements for radio-television-film majors. The other aims to establish a “Northwestern Idol” competition that would be open to students and Evanston community members who wish to showcase their singing talent.