Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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ASG members disappointed as Council rejects maps

After months of involvement in the Evanston redistricting process, Associated Student Government members saw their efforts fall short at Monday night’s Evanston Rules Committee meeting.

About 30 Northwestern students, composed of ASG members and other students, attended the meeting at which aldermen voted 7-2 to adopt a redistricting map — but not one of two maps submitted by students.

The ASG External Relations Committee had made student involvement in the redistricting process a priority this fall. Members of the committee created two main maps, each trying to uphold the goals of preserving two minority-majority wards and keeping student voters in two wards.

“I’m upset it was implied (at the meeting) that students should be called anything other than residents,” said ASG External Relations Chairwoman Jane Lee after the decision.

Lee, a Weinberg junior, had worked on the redistricting process since summer, creating alternative maps to the initial ones presented by aldermen. Her proposal was one of three examined by the Rules Committee on Monday.

But many ASG members, including Weinberg junior John Hughes, ASG’s city council liaison, said their disappointment was not a surprise.

“We weren’t shocked because we’d had some conversations with community leaders and aldermen over the weekend,” said Hughes, a former Daily forum editor and board member for Students Publishing Co., which oversees The Daily. “And when we got to the meeting, we learned that a deal had been made for (a different plan).”

Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) was the most vocal in speaking against the process the City Council followed in adopting the map, which keeps on-campus students in the First and Seventh wards.

“It shows a certain closed-mindedness,” Moran said.

But several aldermen argued that students should not criticize the selected map for dissolving student voting power when they do not have high voting numbers.

“Not in one election did more than 40 students vote” in the Seventh Ward, said Ald. Arthur Newman (1st).

Some aldermen also said student criticisms that the ward changes — even those that would have divided on-campus students into three wards — would dilute student voting power were simply unfounded.

“If you want to elect someone, figure out how to do it,” said Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) to the students.

But some students said such arguments were biased and overlooked low voter participation in other wards.

“They haven’t made any statements about other wards’ voting patterns,” said Jenny Kim, an ASG senator for Elder Hall and a Weinberg freshman. “They’ve only made statements about (on-campus) student wards, which is obviously singling us out.”

Jeff Smith, an Evanston resident and former voting-rights attorney, said he was surprised and disappointed at the council’s decision.

“This map is the most contortionist example of any of the maps proposed,” said Smith, Weinberg ’77.

Smith consulted with ASG members for the past two weeks to strategize ways to make their case before the City Council.

The map introduced by the Rules Committee is not final. It will be brought up at the City Council meeting Nov. 10 and will face a vote Nov. 24.

Evanston Mayor Lorraine H. Morton, who was present at the meeting, said she commended students’ efforts in the redistricting process.

“I know what an asset students are to the community,” Morton said.

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ASG members disappointed as Council rejects maps