ASG approves new committee to examine mental health at Northwestern


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg senior Moira Geary speaks to Associated Student Government on Wednesday. Geary gave input about a resolution announcing ASG’s condemnation of recent acts of vandalism at the Tannenbaum Chabad House.

Alice Yin, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government approved Wednesday the creation of a committee that will investigate mental health experiences and resources among Northwestern students.

Called the Mental Health Working Group, the team of six to 10 members will meet once a week, said SESP junior Chris Harlow, vice president of student life. The group aims to enrich the University’s future resources by pinpointing mental health issues among NU students.

“We feel that we don’t know what’s best because we don’t have a full grasp of what the landscape is,” Harlow said. “Certainly freshmen have different stressors and factors and services and programs … from seniors. There are different experiences we have along all different spectrums.”

Members of the new group will analyze different aspects of NU student life that could possibly trigger mental health issues. After documenting these stressors, the group will map out NU’s scope of intervention, prevention and reduction services on campus. The working group will then review its findings, sorting by year, major and other categories while looking for gaps in mental health support.

The team must report its findings and suggestions back to Senate no later than Jan. 31, 2015.

Harlow will chair the group, with support from Austin Romero, vice president for diversity and inclusion. The team will include two senators, one of which will be the Mental Health Coalition senator, four non-senator students and at least one student from NU Listens and one student from NU Active Minds. In addition, Harlow said there will also be focus groups.

“We really need to take a more holistic look and approach at what our landscape for mental health (that) exists right now is,” Harlow said. “It’s been a big focus of ASG and the administration and student body, but the response has kind of been patchworked.”

Senate also approved legislation condemning recent acts of vandalism at the Tannenbaum Chabad House. The latest incident on Oct. 24 left the menorah candle outside of the building vandalized beyond repair.

The legislation announced ASG’s solidarity in building a supportive community absent of religious intolerance.

“The menorah, which is a Jewish symbol in front of the house, has been vandalized,” said Weinberg junior Jonathan Kamel, Interfraternity Council senator. “We feel that any type of, whether it’s overt or not overt, act against a religious group is unacceptable in our University.”

Kamel said the resolution is also a “symbolic support for a new menorah,” which he said should be up in the next few weeks.

ASG also passed legislation to eliminate “T-status” recognition and put in new guidelines for student groups trying to attain official recognition. Legislation was also passed requiring the Wild Ideas Committee to present all funding allocations to Senate, regardless of the amount.

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