Senate seeks blanket athletic fee, Norris bar night

Alison Knezevich

Associated Student Government senators will have their hands full next week with a special meeting to address campus issues — including a bill that asks the university to implement an annual fee allowing every student to attend football and men’s basketball games.

After analyzing student ticket sales from 1997 to 2002, ASG members found that the average revenue per student was about $20.

Instead of paying for individual tickets, the ASG bill proposes that students pay a fee added to their tuition. The fee, which would be between $20 and $25, would be handled by the Athletics Department.

Sara Whitaker, a sorority senator and representative for Northwestern’s Committee on Athletics and Recreation, said the project is part of a long-term ASG goal to build community at NU.

“The true aim of this proposal is to change the culture of Northwestern,” said Whitaker, a Communication junior who is working on the ASG bill. “When you have students out in large numbers, there’s an amazing community spirit.”

Whitaker said some similar programs exist at other colleges, and the Athletic Department has given positive feedback about the proposal.

ASG members also have finalized plans for another community-building event — an 18-and-over Norris University Center bar night during Reading Week.

“This is a project that has been many years in the making,” said ASG President Mike Fong, a Weinberg senior. “We are very happy to finally see the first steps in fruition.”

After working to have Norris bar nights last year, ASG officials ran into obstacles because of safety concerns.

They now have plans to hold one event on Dec. 5 from 9 p.m. until midnight.

Measures will be in place to prevent underage drinking, said ASG City Council liaison and Weinberg junior John Hughes.

Only students, faculty and staff will be allowed to attend, and all will be required to present their WildCARDs. Organizers will have a list of birthdays so people cannot use fake IDs, and nonalcoholic beverages probably will be served in clear cups to prevent drink sharing.

“I really see very little way that students could cheat and get in when they don’t qualify,” said Hughes, a former Daily Forum editor and board member for Students Publishing Co., which oversees The Daily.

Hughes said ASG members eventually hope to hold a series of regular bar nights, but those plans depend on turnout at the first event.

Senators also will address more serious issues at its meeting next week. Several safety bills were delayed last week when senators voted to adjourn their meeting halfway through the agenda. The decision came after a three-hour financial and group misconduct debate about the Objectivist Club.

The safety bills will be presented to the Senate again Monday, but some senators said they were concerned that lost time could hinder the progress of safety improvements.

Christina Appleton, a former sorority senator, wrote a bill calling for the administration to purchase keychain-sized personal safety alarms. She said she is now behind schedule for the implementation of her initiatives.

“Most likely (the project) will have to be put off until Winter Quarter,” said Appleton, a Weinberg junior.

Other bills that were slated for last week but not addressed include a bill to build a safety Web site and one that asks the Evanston City Council to be timely in improving street lighting near campus.