ASG updates constitution, urges for ‘yes means yes’ legislation on college campuses

Emily Chin, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government Senate voted Wednesday to change its constitution by adding an article about the organization’s non-discrimination policy.

The addition, which will be the first article listed in the constitution, says ASG does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member or its community. Although the change does not affect what ASG does, it tells people what ASG’s frame of mind is, said Petros Karahalios, Rainbow Alliance Senator.

“Putting this in the constitution does not give ASG any structure, but the symbolism is important,” the Weinberg senior said. He first brought the amendment to Senate two weeks ago.

An idea can have a huge impact, just as the movement to change Facebook profile pictures to red equal signs did on the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage discussion two years ago, he said.

ASG also passed a resolution to urge the Illinois General Assembly to pass an active consent law, commonly known as “yes means yes” legislation, on college campuses. California Gov. Jerry Brown passed a similar law in September, requiring all college students to receive active consent before engaging in sexual activity.

ASG’s Community Relations Committee is going to bring up the issue when they lobby in Springfield, Illinois, later this month. The resolution also encourages the University to push for new legislation regarding active consent.

ASG also decided to allocate money from the Wild Ideas Fund to fund four student events. Of the $25,000 the fund received at the beginning of the year, they have gone through a couple thousand dollars.

Senate voted to fund the Muslim-cultural Students Association’s “Nation of Islam” event, a collaborative scavenger hunt and WAVE Productions’ “Anti-Play” unanimously. Senators debated whether to give funding to a MEChA de Northwestern speaker, Hatem Bazian, whom senators said has been accused of being anti-Semitic by the website CAMERA on Campus.

Representatives from NUDivest, which calls for the University to “divest from corporations that are profiting off of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands,” according to its website, spoke at Senate about the situation in Israel-Palestine. Weinberg junior Noah Whinston said NU may be investing in companies that are complicit with human rights violations in Palestine. However, he said they don’t know for sure because the University is not transparent with its investments.

“Other schools have advisory committees with students, alumni and faculty,” he said. “NU doesn’t have that. It’s very difficult for us as students to have any say on what the University is doing with the money.”

Representatives from the Feinberg School of Medicine also came to Senate to announce a research project they will be doing for the next four years with next year’s freshmen.

The project looks at cardiovascular health and how certain behaviors impact health during one’s college career, said Feinberg postdoctoral fellow Angela Pfammatter. The project’s leaders will recruit 500 incoming freshman and look at their dieting habits, smoking, physical activity and weight, she said.

“We’re trying to intervene in the college age population because it’s usually ignored in the research,” Pfammatter said.

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