Faculty Senate passes resolution in support of cycling, pedestrian safety

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Faculty Senate passed a resolution supporting the creation of a task force on bike and pedestrian safety Wednesday, nearly two weeks after Weinberg freshman Chuyuan Qiu was killed by a cement truck while biking.

The resolution, authored by Associated Student Government President Christina Cilento, said the task force — a collaboration between Faculty Senate and ASG — would “look at ways to improve the safety and experience of pedestrians and cyclists on campus.” The resolution calls for the annual distribution of subsidized bike lights and helmets to all students on campus, and for the speed limit on Sheridan be lowered to 25 mph between Davis and Central streets.

About 70 faculty members gathered in Abbott Auditorium to “introduce the Senate to one another and to the other leaders of the university, so that our shared governance initiatives would be based on strong relationships and trust,” religious studies Prof. Laurie Zoloth, the senate’s president, told The Daily in an email.

After Zoloth’s opening remarks, Cilento and ASG’s Executive Vice President Macs Vinson briefly spoke about the importance of identity and inclusion on campus.

“We’re really happy to have the partnership with the Faculty Senate in the work that we’re seeking to do,” Cilento said. “In a time that Northwestern is constantly striving to be more diverse … and create more discussion around topics of identity and inclusion, we’re really seeking to bring that to the forefront of ASG.”

Weinberg senior Ashley Wood, vice president of academics for ASG, spoke about the importance of course accessibility for undergraduate students. Wood said many students told ASG in a 2014 survey that they often struggle to pay for expensive course materials such as textbooks.

She said she hopes faculty will be more aware about potential financial hardships, and she suggested solutions “as simple as having (the syllabus) uploaded five days before class starts” to allow students time to find cheaper textbook options.

Nine guest speakers followed, addressing a wide array of topics affecting undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and administration.

Kellogg Dean Sally Blount and executive vice president Nim Chinniah presented a report from the Global Strategy Task Force, which is “intended to serve as a foundation and outline for developing Northwestern University’s global strategy.”

Although further discussion on the task force was delayed for a future meeting, Zoloth told The Daily “this was a very strong presentation and a good first step” that will illuminate some of the members’ immediate responses and result in feedback for future growth.

“This is the year of learning,” Zoloth said over email. “And what that means is we’re gonna be learning how to be better citizens and better representatives within the academic community.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @yvonneekimm