Groups investigated in racial bake sale

Janette Neuwahl

Associated Student Government’s financial arm is scrutinizing the conduct of College Republicans and the NU Objectivist Club whose members were involved with an affirmative action bake sale.

After administrators shut down the bake sale Friday, the Student Activities Finance Board began investigating College Republicans as being one of the advertised sponsors of the event, said Erica Williamson, ASG financial vice president. Under Northwestern’s guidelines a recognized group’s fund-raiser cannot advocate political messages. Although the group’s executive board did not vote to endorse the sale, its organizer, James Gelfan, had several friends from College Republicans helping with the event.

SAFB decides how much money can be allocated to each of ASG’s 41 A-Status groups, which are eligible for funding out of the student activities fee. If the College Republicans have violated some of SAFB’s guidelines, the group is in jeopardy of losing its funding.

Leaders in ASG and the groups involved in the bake sale said cases could be brought against them at tonight or next week’s ASG Senate meeting.

But College Republicans President Ben Kohlmann sees no reason for the allegation.

“I don’t think we are doing anything wrong — our name was used improperly, but it remains to be seen whether SAFB feels the same way,” said Kohlmann, a Weinberg senior. “We’ll see what happens.”

ASG’s Executive Committee, which decides the status of groups, also is investigating the Objectivist Club. The club now maintains a B-status standing, giving them privileges such as the ability to rent space in Norris University Center. Because the club’s name also was advertised as a sponsor of the sale, it is being scrutinized by the Executive Committee. The club’s president, Igor Dubinsky, said he met with a fact-finding commission of two people Monday.

“They didn’t tell us what was wrong and what allegations are being brought against us,” said Dubinsky, a Weinberg senior. “ASG has been responding to us in hazy, unclear terms.”

From what he has gathered, Dubinsky said he thinks ASG is trying to shut down the Objectivist Club because members’ views often differ from the liberal viewpoint.

“It’s unwarranted, it’s a witch hunt,” Dubinsky said. “And I think it’s solely because somebody doesn’t agree with our point of view and wants to flex the arm of ASG.”

Also at tonight’s meeting, senators will vote on a bill to gauge student interest for an unlimited Chicago Transit Authority pass and a resolution condemning the theft of issues of the Northwestern Chronicle at various campus sites.

In light of another swastika found in Willard Residential College on Thursday — the sixth recorded incident across campus since winter — senators may oppose the epithets through a resolution. The resolution, written by Hillel Cultural Life Sen. Alexander Lurie, aims to “take a firmer line against hate.”

“There’s a residue of hatred we’re trying to distance ourselves from to move beyond it,” said Lurie, a Communication sophomore. “This issue of hate on campus needs to be addressed before we can move on.”

Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Northwestern rooms at Norris University Center. It is open to the university community.