ASG selects chief of staff, creates new student-groups subcommittee

Stephanie Haines, Reporter

Northwestern’s Associated Student Government passed several constitutional and code changes at its Senate meeting Wednesday, including the creation, nomination and confirmation of a new leadership position.

After a long meeting last week, the debate over adding a chief-of-staff role was voted on as old business, requiring amendments to the constitution. In doing so, the Senate voted to remove the clerk position. The chief-of-staff position is now part of the cabinet, which oversees the committees.  The clerk position was originally a part of the parliamentary body.

The cabinet selected former clerk Carly Blumenfeld as chief of staff.  ASG vice president Brad Stewart said the cabinet conducted a search for other members and considered implementing an application process for the position, but ultimately selected Blumenfeld. The Weinberg junior accepted and was sworn into her position at Wednesday’s meeting.

Blumenfeld said her plans include meeting with caucus whips, attending student-group meetings and possibly organizing a five-year progress report for ASG.

“She has been our number-one target for this position since the exec board started talking about it,” said Stewart, a Medill senior.  “She never tried to move up for her own personal gain. This was very much a situation where we went to her for this.”

Ani Ajith, speaker of the Senate and Weinberg junior, said the parliamentarian, SESP senior Brandon McNamara, will absorb some of the original clerk duties. Some of those duties include taking notes at Senate and executive board meetings.

One of ASG’s main motivations for eliminating the clerk position was that its responsibilities and roles were not substantial enough. Blumenfeld said it had run uncontested for the past two years, showing there was not much excitement for the position.

The chief-of-staff duties will focus mainly on community building, recruitment and retention within the Senate and its committees. ASG president Victor Shao said chief of staff is “a necessary position” to train, retain and grant ASG participants the “tools to succeed.”

“With the new chief-of-staff position, it will allow all of the ASG executive board to focus on their core duties,” Ajith said.

More old business included the creation of a new student-groups subcommittee. Lauren Masterson, vice president of student groups and Weinberg senior, said there has been an increase in the number of new student groups over the past two years. She said it is difficult for the student-groups committee to balance the time and attention given to new student groups versus student groups already recognized by ASG.

Masterson said the new subcommittee will be trained to work with new student groups up until they have their hearing for ASG status before the student groups committee.

ASG updated senators on its progress on several different platforms, including academics, diversity and inclusion, and student life.

Ethan Romba, vice president for technology, said he is currently working on the ASG website and will have a new homepage by the end of this week. The McCormick senior said he also plans to update a new page a week to include resources for students such as project updates, committee breakdowns, full roster, contact information and how to get involved.