ASG passes emergency resolution affirming University commitment to black student demands, donation legislation

SESP+sophomore+Daniel+Rodriguez+speaks+at+a+previous+ASG+meeting.+Rodriguez+called+on+ASG+members+Wednesday+to+be+willing+to+actively+learn+and+practice+allyship+to+Northwestern%27s+Black+community+and+other+marginalized+groups.

Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

SESP sophomore Daniel Rodriguez speaks at a previous ASG meeting. Rodriguez called on ASG members Wednesday to be willing to actively learn and practice allyship to Northwestern's Black community and other marginalized groups.

Daisy Conant, Assistant Campus Editor

In its final session of the academic year, Associated Student Government unanimously passed an emergency resolution and three pieces of legislation, resulting in a call upon the University to more adequately address racial injustice and the allocation of $15,000 in donations to community organizations.

The resolution, co-authored by co-chair of Campus Life Christian Wade and seven other senators, supports demands made by students Wednesday. These demands, addressed to University President Morton Schapiro, the Board of Trustees and other University officials, include severing ties with all outside police departments and divesting from law enforcement and military agencies, such as the Center for Public Safety, immediately.

The Senate resolution states that despite recent events of police brutality and injustice — against the backdrop of a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting black people — students who are traumatized, grieving and making an effort to pursue advocacy are expected to complete their assignments as usual.

Citing these concerns, the resolution calls on the University to mandate all final assessments be made optional across schools, with a policy similar to that of Winter Quarter, where students cannot be penalized for taking the final. In that same vein, the resolution called for an extension of the withdrawal deadline to June 13 — a demand met by administrators this morning.

The resolution also supports calls that the administration respond to a petition made by members of the senior class in regards to uninviting Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot from commencement, and demands it update and publicize a new Black House renovation timeline as soon as construction is allowed to resume.

Finally, the resolution calls for the release of a statement signed by top administrators reaffirming Northwestern’s commitment to the black community, apologizing for the administration’s continued failures and a commitment to properly respond to further incidents and demands in a prompt and adequate manner.

Wade noted that he used many of these points in emergency legislation last year — highlighting how the University continues to be “very, very lacking in this area of treating black students how they deserve to be treated as students.”
ASG voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

“I’m really happy about it passing, but this is only the start,” Wade told The Daily on Wednesday. “For too long, black students’ voices have been heard, but have simply been ignored by the administration… Hopefully, administration will take (the demands) seriously and put in the work with black student leaders to get things done and make this campus a more inclusive place
.”

Speaker Matthew Wylie then moved to enact two pieces of legislation regarding the use of ASG’s excess operating budget funds.

The first, co-authored by Wylie and Deputy Executive Officer of Justice and Inclusion Samantha Anderson, would allow ASG to donate $13,000 of its leftover funds to the Chicago Community Bond Fund, an organization that pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County.

The second, co-authored by Wylie, Vice President Juan Zuniga and Executive Officer of Justice and Inclusion Daniel Rodriguez, would allow ASG to donate $2,000 of its leftover funds to the Forrest E. Powell Foundation in memory of Hecky Powell, a beloved Evanston community organizer and business owner who passed away in May due to COVID-19 complications.

“We had a statement last week recognizing (Powell) and his work in the Evanston community, particularly working with a lot of Evanston youth to give them job training and connect them with resources in the community,” Zuniga said. “We wanted to find a way to donate… so the $2,000 will cover two Evanston youths vocational internships over a summer.”

The final piece of legislation, co-authored by Zuniga and former Deputy Vice President Emeritus Margot Bartol, established an Ad Hoc Policy Research Institute to make policy recommendations to ASG committee chairs.

All three pieces of legislation passed unanimously.

To conclude the session, Rodriguez made a final call on ASG members to continue to think about how they can combat anti-blackness and lead in a way that considers how they may be affecting communities of marginalized identities.

“I ask that you guys continue to think that, and please be willing to actively learn and practice allyship,” Rodriguez said. “Thank you everyone for a great year.”

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Twitter: @daisy_conant

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