ASG candidates talk experience, mental health during ASG town hall


Brian Meng/Daily Senior Staffer

SESP junior Izzy Dobbel and her running mate Adam Davies, also a SESP junior. The two are currently running uncontested for ASG President and Executive Vice President.

Atul Jalan, Reporter

When asked to share their thoughts on the University’s refusal to revoke research Satoshi Kanazawa’s visiting fellowship at Northwestern, Izzy Dobbel and Adam Davies — candidates running for Associated Student Government president and executive vice president respectively — responded unequivocally.

“One of the things we’re planning on advocating for the future is in all of the hiring committees at Northwestern, there is that student voice,” Davies said. “We cannot trust the University to make these decisions on their own anymore and to keep the campus safe for us.”

The response was part of a larger message put forth by the pair during Tuesday night’s ASG town hall, hosted by The Daily Northwestern in Fisk Hall. The SESP juniors described the University and ASG as being in a “state of emergency,” caused by a lack of campus safety, support for organizations and soundness in the University’s budget.

One issue the candidates focused on was a lack of resources for students on campus, especially those dealing with mental health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in 2016 that suicide has become the second leading cause of death for people age 10-34. The Chicago Tribune reported that nine students at Northwestern have died by suicide since May 2013.

Davies responded that the NU community must work to destigmatize seeking help as necessary not only when a student is experiencing mental illness, but also simply as part of students’ routines in maintaining their wellness.

Dobbel added that the University should hire at least three new staff members to Counseling and Psychological Services, citing long wait times for a meeting with a CAPS counselor. The University’s sending out of mass emails to the NU community after student suicides instead of adding more resources for students, Dobbel said, is “unacceptable.”

But ASG has tried and failed to convince the University to implement that exact policy. To that end, the discussion focused not only on the pair’s position, but also on how they plan to convince the administration to implement the many policies they are proposing — especially given ASG’s varied track record of success in the past.

Dobbel and Davies agreed that ASG and student activists have failed in the past. But, Dobbel said her experience managing finances within ASG and Davies’ work as a student activist would aid them in convincing the University to implement their platform.

“A really good strategy that I have learned from being in some ASG and admin meetings in the past is that admin — we are a research institution — they love stats, they love stories and they love in-person students,” Dobbel said. “Making sure that we’re really emphasizing surveys and getting those responses and working on our communication with our constituents so that we have the numerical support.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jalan_atul

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