Senator submits proposal for poll

Michelle Ma

Associated Student Government’s treasurer pushed Friday for a referendum that would have delayed another measure to make ASG more financially transparent.

John J. Hughes III declined to comment on his involvement with a referendum proposed this weekend by Rainbow Alliance representatives. But Hughes, a former Daily forum editor and former Rainbow Alliance senator, approached a Daily editor on Friday petitioning signatures supporting the referendum.

Only one referendum — a measure that requires 200 student signatures to be introduced and can pass without Senate approval — may be proposed each quarter, according to ASG’s constitution.

The referendum proposed by Rainbow Alliance representatives asks for student input about ASG supporting student groups that explicitly discriminate against openly gay and lesbian students, according to one of the authors.

Phi Mu Alpha-Sigma Alpha Iota Sen. Gabe Matlin submitted signatures to the ASG office Friday for his referendum, which would allow students to vote on posting more ASG financial information online.

Matlin’s referendum also asks that all copies of ASG’s financial transactions be provided on request.

If Rainbow Alliance representatives had submitted their 200 signatures before Matlin this weekend, Matlin’s referendum would have been delayed until Spring Quarter.

But because Matlin was able to collect the required signatures before Rainbow Alliance representatives submitted their proposal, his referendum most will likely be posted on HereandNow within a week. It will be online for one to two weeks.

The referendum submitted by Rainbow Alliance supporters most will likely be posted early Spring Quarter.

Hughes told Rainbow Alliance Co-President Ellen Bird to “hurry” with the referendum, Bird said, “just because it’s something that people use, so if we want to guarantee we have the referendum we have to get it done.”

Rainbow Alliance representatives submitted the referendum Saturday with 203 student signatures as an e-mail to the Senate speaker, with a link to a Web site managed by Hughes. Hughes posted the referendum proposal with the signatures on his Web site, Bird added.

Bird and Leslie Stewart, also a Rainbow Alliance co-president, said they proposed the referendum because of Congress’ bill against same-sex marriage and ASG’s recent support of Northwestern’s Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Yet ASG senators voted to back NROTC nearly four weeks ago. Bird said she didn’t know the referendum option existed before Hughes told her.

Senate Speaker Matt Hall said both referenda were submitted, but the signatures have not been verified. Senate will verify all signatures.

Matlin said he began collecting signatures Tuesday and had reached 200 by Friday.

McCormick junior John Rose said he signed Matlin’s petition because ASG financial information should be more public.

“It seems like ASG has been trying to keep what they’ve been doing more secretive than what it should be for a student government,” Rose said. “I just hope everyone will see the poll and vote.”

The referendum is revised from an original proposal that also called for closed ASG meetings to be open to some senator observers. Matlin said he decided to call only for open financial information after speaking with some ASG members who thought open meetings weren’t needed.

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected].