ASG holds first meeting of the remote quarter, discusses elections and staff award

Members+of+ASG+at+the+last+session+of+Winter+Quarter%2C+when+they+voted+to+transition+to+remote+sessions.

Yunkyo Kim/The Daily Northwestern

Members of ASG at the last session of Winter Quarter, when they voted to transition to remote sessions.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

At the first Wednesday session of the remote Spring Quarter, Associated Student Government debated shifting key election dates and introduced legislation creating an award honoring staff collaborators.

ASG proposed the Vinson-Davies Award Honoring Staff Allies be named after the first two non-binary ASG vice presidents, Macs Vinson (McCormick ‘17) and SESP senior Adam Davies, who have both helped implement intersectional initiatives at the University.

The legislation, co-sponsored by ASG president Izzy Dobbel, chief of staff Henry Molnar and SESP senator Daniel Rodriguez, also recognizes the Transgender Day of Visibility, which takes place March 31. It will be awarded annually to staff members who demonstrate a dedication to working with ASG to promote progressive policies beneficial to the campus community and persons of marginalized identities.

“There was a lot of admin that we saw really shine and, you know, a lot of our good friends over at (Multicultural Student Affairs) especially, who have been advocating for students through and through,” Dobbel said. “(We) are thankful of these people for the work that they put in — they genuinely care about students. We thought, ‘I wish there was a way that we could honor staff for their allyship.’”

The award will be given out before the inaugurations of the subsequent ASG president and vice president, the legislation read.

During the meeting, Senate members also debated delaying election dates to make the process of campaigning more accessible during the remote quarter.

Despite talks of pushing the presidential elections to Fall Quarter, the election commission ultimately decided to hold a remote election with a delayed schedule during Spring Quarter.

According to ASG’s original schedule, elections for speaker of the Senate and parliamentarian would have occurred during this week’s meeting. Weinberg sophomore Matthew Wylie, the current speaker of the Senate said his and parliamentarian Elizabeth Sperti’s tenures ended at the end of the meeting, but they are willing to adjust to help with the transition.

“I’m sure that (Sperti) will be happy to carry on for a little bit longer, and I would be happy to do so as well,” Wylie said.

Given that the session occurred during Passover, senators argued that the elections for speaker of the Senate and parliamentarian should be pushed at least for a week.

Rodriguez said while he would prefer not holding elections until students are no longer affected by COVID-19, the decision to hold a delayed election was realistic.

“We’re currently facing a (pandemic) and I personally think that we shouldn’t be holding any elections when possibly students in ASG or who we represent are being affected by it,” he said. “If we do have to outlive (Wylie and Sperti), I agree that at least a week or two has to be needed so people can readjust.”

The Senate voted to delay elections for two weeks and is still considering timelines for general elections to determine the president and vice president. Candidates will also have to hold traditional campaign requirements like debates on digital platforms.

Megan Radcliffe, a Bienen senator and member of the election commission, said the group will need to take more time to ensure all students can partake in the electoral process.

“We haven’t reached a final, final decision yet so we’ll let everybody know as soon as we figure that out more concretely,” Radcliffe said. “But we’re planning on just allowing for a little bit more time just to make sure everybody can campaign and vote.”

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