ASG kicks off Winter Quarter, considers diversity committee name change


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg junior Noah Star, Associated Student Government Senate Speaker, talks with a senator after Wednesday night’s short meeting. During its meeting, the ASG Senate proposed changing the name of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to the “Accessibility and Inclusion Committee.”

Jeanne Kuang, Managing Editor

Associated Student Government is considering changing the name of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee to the “Accessibility and Inclusion Committee,” citing a more direct focus on resource accessibility for students of all backgrounds.

Austin Romero, vice president of diversity and inclusion, proposed during the quarter’s first Senate on Wednesday to change his committee’s name because accessibility is a more feasible and defined goal than diversity, he said.

“I think it’s really difficult to act directly on diversity, trying to make the community more diverse,” the SESP senior said. “We need to make sure the Northwestern community is inclusive and most importantly accessible to all students, and in that way we can make sure the campus has a better chance of becoming more diverse.”

The name change would not affect any of Romero’s or the committee’s current responsibilities, which include working to improve “policies, practices, curriculum and engagement” at Northwestern related to diversity and inclusion, according to the ASG code. Rather, Romero said, it would ensure the group focuses on accessibility.

“That’s not saying that I don’t value diversity or that I don’t want to continue fostering it, because that’s absolutely what I want to do,” Romero told The Daily. “I would say that’s even the ultimate goal.”

He added the committee hopes to build diversity in a way that makes it “valuable” and helps students of different backgrounds feel included on campus.

The bill for the name change will be discussed at next week’s Senate.

Romero said the committee is kicking off this quarter by working on a project supporting lower-income students by subsidizing their tickets to campus theater performances, which he said stemmed from an idea a student came up with in an NU class. Another goal for the committee is a training program for student leaders in inclusion and different issues of identity, including socioeconomic status and LGBT issues, Romero said.

Earlier in Senate, Chris Harlow, vice president for student life, reported nearly 2,000 in total attendance to various stress relief events held during exams last quarter as part of ASG’s new Take Time initiative.

Take Time, a mental health campaign that launched in the fall, encourages students to take breaks from schoolwork and exams.

Harlow, a SESP junior, said after the meeting that the student life committee this quarter plans to expand the initiative beyond Finals Week to include events throughout the quarter.

“We really want to start integrating with other departments on campus like working with Residential Services or working with other student groups to brand their events as ‘Take Time’ events,” he said. “So that when students go to an event … they go under the pretense that, ‘Oh, this is a Take Time event, I should be going to this thinking about, it’s a way to take time away from classes.’”

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