ASG talks diversity, alcohol

Stephanie Haines

Northwestern’s Associated Student Government made new efforts to keep diversity and sustainability part of its permanent conversation at Wednesday’s Senate meeting.

Dona Cordero, assistant provost for diversity and inclusion and chair of the University Diversity Council, spoke to ASG Wednesday about the five working groups that report to the council, and asked the senators for their support for any University diversity initiatives.

Two associate vice president positions were also created: one for an ASG diversity and inclusion committee, and another for the body’s sustainability committee. ASG also created an alcohol policy and culture working group, which will discuss and research ways to improve the current alcohol policies on campus, ASG President and Weinberg junior Victor Shao said.

In regards to other pieces of legislation, ASG also passed a bill that illustrated its support for more single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. It also voted to urge the University to use conflict-free electronics instead of those made of materials mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation rife with human rights abuses.

A bill calling for ASG senators to be sent to the Rules Committee after one or one-half of an unexcused absence from a funding session was defeated. Typically, ASG senators are allowed two unexcused absences before they are sent to the Rules Committee.

A code review was passed that required the executive board to be present for the duration of Senate meetings each week, and each member must put in one hour of his or her time to ASG public relations efforts.

Finally, two bills regarding ASG presidential elections were defeated. The first called for anyone considering running for campus-wide ASG elected offices to declare to the election commission that he or she chooses to do so. The second asked to shorten the presidential campaign time from 10 days to seven days. Senators voted against this, saying shortening the campaigning period would create problems when scheduling debates. They also said seven days did not allow enough time for the candidates to effectively reach out to the majority of the student body.

New members to the Student Activities Finance Committee were also elected.

Non-senators McCormick senior Bilal Shahabuddin, Weinberg freshman Serene Darwish, Weinberg sophomore Amrit Kanesa-Thasan and Weinberg junior Bill Prager were elected by the Senate as account executives for the SAFC. SAFC oversees funding, advising and recommendations for A-status student groups, Weinberg sophomore and Speaker of the Senate Ani Ajith said.

Weinberg sophomore Kevin Yao and Weinberg junior Harsh Shah, both of whom are current ASG senators, were also elected to the SAFC.

“The SAFC elections are critical because the account executives sign off on student group spending,” Ajith said.

Vice President of Technology and McCormick junior Ethan Romba said Northwestern University Information Technology is improving Blackboard by providing more access via cellphones. He also said the Northwestern University Police Department is subsidizing the WiFi upgrades on the Lakefill and will also install security cameras.

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