Associated Student Government confirms junior Henry Molnar as chief of staff


Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg junior Henry Molnar, left, is sworn in by former chief of staff Julia Shenkman, right. Molnar will focus on reforming ASG’s image with the student body, he said.

Atul Jalan, Reporter

Associated Student Government confirmed and swore in Weinberg junior Henry Molnar as its chief of staff Wednesday until next spring.

Molnar served as the campaign manager for SESP juniors Izzy Dobbel’s and Adam Davies’ campaign for ASG executive office, and before that as parliamentarian.

“From parliamentarian, it gave me lots and lots of insight into the way ASG works: the code, the constitution, people’s roles and most importantly, personality management,” Molnar said. “ASG has a lot of big personalities and it’s kind of a byproduct of the more toxic nature of the organization.”

His experience as campaign manager rounded out his skillset, Molnar said, by forcing him to engage with the larger Northwestern community. The interactions gave him an understanding of what students want from ASG, which he said will help shape his priorities as the chief of staff.

Molnar will succeed Weinberg senior Julia Shenkman, who led ASG’s executive office with former ASG president Emily Ash. Shenkman said her work spanned a wide range, as the chief of staff is the “backbone” of ASG, though she was most proud of the success of wellness week and inroads she made regarding software affordability.

Personal mental health sometimes became an issue, Shenkman said, as the originally four-person executive office dwindled to two after former president Sky Patterson resigned her post last December and the deputy chief of staff ascended to a vice presidential position. Her successor, she said, would need to possess a strong work ethic, which Molnar had consistently demonstrated during his time as parliamentarian.

“Henry was an integral part of their campaign and honestly an integral part of maintaining sanity within the past exec board,” Shenkman said. “He’s really well-suited for this role. The chief of staff has got to be organized, they have to be on top of things, they have to know the rules and that’s something that Henry does better than anybody else in this organization.”

Molnar said he will focus on reforming ASG’s image with the student body. The past election cycle saw only 852 students cast a ballot, the lowest turnout in at least a decade. About 25 percent of those students voted no confidence.

Molnar proposed further outreach from ASG officials to student organizations and traditionally less engaged groups, such as Greek life and engineering communities. He also proposed a state of the government address to further increase ASG’s transparency.

Additionally, Molnar said he plans to push heavily for the implementation of “mental health sick days,” a signature issue of Dobbel’s campaign that would allow students to miss a certain number of classes throughout the quarter and receive excused absences, no questions asked.

Officials within ASG, including Shenkman and Dobbel, cited Molnar’s ability to resolve conflict as one of his most important assets. The competitive nature of people within ASG, officials said, sometimes led to conflict as those people clashed on ideas.

“Henry is the most level-headed and fair person that I know,” Dobbel said. “He’s literally the perfect mediator in a lot of ways and we have seen him resolve conflicts in the past in a very fair way and listen to both sides equally and I think that’s a really valuable tool to have on executive board.”

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