ASG introduces legislation to establish Executive Officer for Justice and Inclusion

Soteria+Reid.+Reid+is+the+acting+VP+for+Accessibility+and+Inclusion.
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ASG introduces legislation to establish Executive Officer for Justice and Inclusion

Soteria Reid. Reid is the acting VP for Accessibility and Inclusion.

Soteria Reid. Reid is the acting VP for Accessibility and Inclusion.

Owen Stidman / Daily Senior Staffer

Soteria Reid. Reid is the acting VP for Accessibility and Inclusion.

Owen Stidman / Daily Senior Staffer

Owen Stidman / Daily Senior Staffer

Soteria Reid. Reid is the acting VP for Accessibility and Inclusion.

Atul Jalan, Reporter

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Associated Student Government introduced legislation to establish an executive officer for justice and inclusion position during its Wednesday Senate meeting.

The legislation, which has 23 co-sponsors, replaces the vice president for accessibility and Inclusion with the new role, elevating the status of ASG’s inclusion efforts by housing the position tasked with improving it within ASG’s executive office.

The higher rank provides more than just symbolic power, ASG president Emily Ash said. The position carries the ability to more “unilaterally influence the work of ASG” in relation to its inclusion efforts.

“It is necessary to enhance (the accessibility and inclusion position’s) scope with the institutional power that it needs to carry out its duties of overarching advising and consultative work with our committees, with our senators (and) with all the executive offices around issues through the lens of justice and inclusion,” Ash said.

The current vice president for accessibility and inclusion position has been criticized by those within ASG as being “ineffective” and plagued by “tumultuous leadership.” Those who hold the office have often been stretched thin due to the requirement that they maintain a representative within ASG committees and University structures related to justice and inclusion. Three of the last four vice presidents in the position have resigned.

The legislation makes having an ASG representative within those University structures optional, focusing instead on improving inclusion through ASG initiatives.

The shift in focus is meant to further align ASG’s actions with its strong rhetoric on inclusion, said Soteria Reid, the acting VP for accessibility and inclusion and one of the authors of the legislation.

The new changes will be implemented, in part, by establishing a set of Committee Representatives who are to be placed in other ASG committees. Those representatives will be tasked with both increasing inclusion-related projects within those committees and reporting progress to the Executive Officer for Justice and Inclusion.

“I think the code change is good,” FMO senator Meron Amariw said. “I was in the (accessibility and inclusion) committee for a little bit last year, and I did feel like it was hard to feel like we were including everybody. This change is really beneficial at tackling those issues and having more of a structure.”

One goal of the legislation is to allow the new Executive Officer to more closely work with and aid student groups associated with diversity and inclusion.

As part of that effort, the selection committee for the executive officer position will include representatives from registered student organizations that directly serve marginalized communities in addition to members of ASG. The position will structurally reflect ASG’s current practices, Reid said.

“(The legislation) is centering inclusion within our organization and putting in ways that we can address it structurally where it has not been effective before,” Reid said.

ASG Senate also held elections for Speaker of the Senate and Parliamentarian. The winners of the elections were not announced.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the acting vice president for accessibility and inclusion’s last name. It is Reid.

Email: atuljalan2022@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @jalan_atul

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