ASG Senate to consider resolution disavowing potential open group proposal


Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Brent Turner, executive director of Campus Life, speaks at Associated Student Government Senate on Wednesday. Turner said he wants students and administrators to start a dialogue about student group exclusivity.

Shane McKeon, Campus Editor

Associated Student Government Senate will consider next week a resolution disavowing a potential University proposal that would push some exclusive student groups to open their doors to all.

The resolution, introduced during Wednesday’s meeting, not only criticizes a potential open group proposal, but also says ASG would continue to fund a student group even if the University ceases to recognize it. The resolution also encourages administrators to work with ASG to find “alternative policies that foster inclusiveness.”

Senators were at times unclear on what a possible change could look like, as the Office of Campus Life has not released any further specifics about potential changes since The Daily initially reported on the possible proposal Sunday.

Brent Turner, the executive director of Campus Life who also attended the meeting, said no specific policy or mandate has been drawn up. Turner said the immediate goal is to start a dialogue between administrators and students before “putting some teeth behind that.”

“We want to hold a lot of conversations with stakeholders,” Turner said. “We want to have dialogue over the next 13 months.”

Turner said his office will work with ASG to host an open forum or town hall meeting after Dillo Day to discuss potential changes.

Senate will debate and vote on the resolution at its meeting next Wednesday.

The Daily reported Sunday that Campus Life is considering a new proposal that would prompt most student groups with application processes to open membership to all interested students.

Since then, student feedback has been mixed. Some supported the proposed change for trying to alleviate a culture of exclusivity on campus; others raised concerns that such a change could dilute the experience for students who are admitted to selective groups.

Weinberg junior Kathir Sundarraj, one of the resolution’s authors, said Northwestern’s student groups should be more inclusive, but a proposal that would make most of them open isn’t a “nuanced solution.”

“We can think of more effective ways to include students on this campus,” he said.

He also said an open group proposal would “fuel a culture of overcommitment,” as students wouldn’t face the same weeding out that happens now.

Medill sophomore Ross Krasner, ASG vice president for community relations, sponsored the resolution. Krasner said he hopes a possible change doesn’t include a mandate, but rather steps such as making admissions policies more fair and creating new student groups if there’s overflow in student interest.

“There’s a lot of steps that can be taken besides a mandate,” Krasner told The Daily. “I was glad to hear Brent speak today.”

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