New Dean of Students Todd Adams speaks to ASG senators about plans for first full quarter

New Dean of Students Todd Adams fields questions at Wednesday’s meeting of the Associated Student Government Senate. Adams joined Northwestern in early February.

Hillary Back/The Daily Northwestern

New Dean of Students Todd Adams fields questions at Wednesday’s meeting of the Associated Student Government Senate. Adams joined Northwestern in early February.

Junnie Kwon, Assistant Campus Editor

Todd Adams, dean of students, said he would rather be called the dean “for” students during a question-and-answer session Wednesday at Associated Student Government’s first Senate meeting of Spring Quarter.

The Midwest native, who formerly worked at Duke University, called Northwestern one of the most “decentralized” places that he had ever been to and said he hopes to improve communication across schools. He also said he aims to get students more involved with the goals of the Office of Dean of Students.

“I see the office as one that connects the dots across the Northwestern community,” he said. “I’m excited to start a real quarter, a real term, and go through this with all of you.”

Because of NU’s decentralization, Adams said delivering campus-wide resources is difficult, particularly in responding to student distress in real-time. He said a need for this type of response system grew out of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech. Following the incident, many groups put forth commendable but separate efforts toward answering the community’s needs, he said.

“If you want to access this network in your pajamas at 10 p.m. at night, how does that work?” he said. “We really need to develop a support and care network that calls us to work with people across institutions, and that’s not happening right now.”

He said hiring Lesley-Ann Brown, director of campus inclusion and community, was a step in the right direction for the University. He called NU “five years behind” in hiring someone for the position. He also plans to set up a program similar to Duke’s Common Ground, a student-led retreat focused on discussion and education on diversity.

Looking ahead to this quarter, he said he wants to focus on becoming more accessible to students and hopes students will invite him to attend more events.

“The office can’t be just some little place in the basement of a building,” he said. “It’s hopefully a place that’s inviting for you to be in and out.”

After the Q-and-A, the Senate turned its attention to legislation. ASG senator Chris Harlow, a SESP freshman, proposed emergency legislation, “Get Out The Vote, Northwestern!,” which passed. The bill allows the community relations committee to spend $500 to set up a booth encouraging students to register to vote in Tuesday’s City Council and Evanston Township elections. The committee will use the funds to buy pizza and fliers to hand out to students at the booth.

Members of the election commission also announced during the meeting that they approved the campaign reforms the Senate approved in the bill, “Campaign Reform Recommendations,” with the exception of two conditions. Instead of providing a website template for all candidates, ASG will allow candidates to design their own websites, which will now be on the ASG server. Furthermore, the commission is requiring ASG to post videos of all campaign debates on its website.

The meeting also marked Weinberg junior Ani Ajith’s last time leading Senate as ASG speaker and SESP senior Brandon McNamara’s last time as parliamentarian. Ajith called the experience “enormously humbling,” with one of the highlights being the forum on diversity and inclusion that ASG held early Fall Quarter.

“When there’s a deadlocked vote, which means every vote is fought for, and when people change their minds during debate, that’s when you realize that this is a completely different experience at Northwestern,” he said. “There are a lot of people who put their faith and trust in you.”

Senate voted Wednesday on Ajith and McNamara’s successors. Weinberg junior Katie Funderburg will replace Ajith, while McCormick junior Abby Klearman will replace McNamara. They will start their terms immediately. Funderburg is the first female ASG speaker in 20 years.

The ad-hoc committee on firearms regulation also announced during the meeting that a letter calling for improved firearms regulation had been finalized and sent to multiple congressmen. Another piece of legislation calling for the creation of a crosswalk at the corner of Hinman Avenue and Sheridan Road will be voted on next week.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Katie Funderburg’s name. The Daily regrets the error.