ASG votes ‘yes’ to Honor Roll electronic balloting

Claire Brown

A bill passed at Wednesday’s Associated Student Government meeting will make the selection process for the Faculty and Administration Honor Roll an electronic ballot. Prior to this year, honor roll members – faculty and administrators recognized for exceptional service to Northwestern undergraduates – were chosen through a combination of CTECs, NULINK nominations and ASG Academic Committee recommendations.

“We took an unclear process and made it clear,” said Muhammad Safdari, ASG academic director.

One problem with the previous selection process was the disproportionate number of Weinberg student votes in comparison to votes from students in other schools, Safdari said. Some schools had as few as three voters, he said, making it likely that some of the most deserving professors and administrators were not being honored.Results of the honor roll affect hiring, promotions and recipients of other staff and faculty awards.

“It is in students’ best interest to make sure we are voting for professors that we like,” Safdari said. “It is one of the most influential things we can do.”

The honor roll selection process bill was passed with a unanimous vote.

ASG also passed a bill presented by ASG Executive Vice President Tommy Smithburg, regarding the election process for several Senate committees. Prior to the passage of the bill, Senators could motion for a “white ballot” immediately after nominations, thus skipping candidate speeches and moving straight to a vote. Smithburg called for a requirement that senators hear a short introductory speech from each nominee before voting.

“People we’re electing have very big duties,” Smithburg said, “and many times we’re electing them without even knowing them, just their names.”

Under the new bill, committee nominees can be white-balloted after their introductory speeches, and voting can begin immediately pending the Senators’ approval.

“White ballots do save time, and we do value Senators’ time,” ASG Public Relations Director Claire Lew said.

Smithburg also introduced a bill with a new vision for the ASG Web site, which passed unanimously. ASG has hired a Web professional to help improve the user experience and increase traffic to the site, he said.

“We want to see how we can tweak (the ASG Web site) to make it something the student body likes, appreciates and wants to go back to,” Smithburg said.

He also discussed creating an “unofficial student guide,” which would include a “beyond the arch” section with a local restaurant guide and list of things to do off campus. Right now, the restaurant guide is buried on ASG’s Web site, Smithburg said.

The Web site bill will eliminate the “ASG Connection,” a public relations portal for ASG to communicate with students.

Next week, ASG will tackle funding for student groups. Senators will vote to add or cut ASG-supplied funds for student organizations, based upon recommendations by the Student Appropriations and Finance Committee.

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