Meeting serves as time for reflection for ASG

Associated Student Government did not consider any new legislation at Wednesday’s Senate meeting. Instead, senators spent the time discussing its condition as ASG enters Winter Quarter.

ASG members need to regain the “courage and strength” to reform themselves, Speaker of the Senate Dan Broadwell said in the State of the Senate address given at the meeting.

Broadwell, a Communication senior, spoke to the Senate about its accomplishments and weaknesses in the annual address. He asked the Senate to reinstate the ad hoc committee that analyzes ASG and suggests reforms. Last year, this committee proposed a cut in the number of senators, which was put into effect Fall Quarter.

The committee also raised concerns about the effectiveness of ASG’s bill and lobbying process. ASG passes legislation calling for action but does not have the power to fulfill those initiatives itself. For example, in November ASG requested Facilities Management add left-handed desks to Harris 107, but the decision was ultimately with the university.

The ad hoc committee has not met since the spring. Broadwell said he wants to see it return.

“It’s the only real outlet in ASG that has the potential to be totally independent,” he said. “It’s not responsible to anyone else. These are people who are in ASG and people who aren’t in ASG who want to find the best way to have a student government function at Northwestern.”

Broadwell complimented the Senate on its ability to be ASG’s final authority.

“I’ve seen four different Senates in my time at Northwestern, and this is the first one that not only believes that, but acts on it too,” he told the Senate. “You, the Senate, have proved to be the most representative and, therefore, the most independent and open-minded Senate I’ve seen for these four years.”

ASG executive board members said they would focus on several projects Winter Quarter. These efforts include revising the ASG Web site, a project since the beginning of the school year; helping student groups with publicity; planning Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities; and finding ways to make senators accountable to their constituents.

The group will also consider increasing the Student Activities Fee and creating co-curricular transcripts that would list students’ extracurricular activities.

It also will continue several projects from Fall Quarter. Members have been attending Evanston City Council meetings and talking with aldermen to lobby for an amendment to Evanston’s liquor ordinance, said ASG President Patrick Keenan-Devlin.

The October law prohibits people under 21 from being in bars past midnight.

The amendment would allow an exception to that law for 35 student fundraising events per year and will be up for a vote at the City Council meeting next Monday, said Keenan-Devlin, a Music senior.

A proposal to make posting CTECs mandatory will be considered by faculty members, said Jason Downs, ASG academic vice president and a Weinberg senior. ASG also is working to coordinate with professors to create an online list of required books for all classes. Both proposals should be resolved by the end of the quarter, he said.

Senators also elected Sen. Amanda Paustian, a Weinberg sophomore, to the Financial Vice President Selection Committee. Next week, the committee will nominate a financial vice president to lead the Student Activities Finance Board, which recommends allocations of almost $1 million in student group funding to the Senate.

Applications for the position are on the HereAndNow Web site and are due Sunday.

Reach Diana Samuels at [email protected] and Nitesh Srivastava at [email protected]