ASG presidential slates discuss police and Greek Life abolition in town hall hosted by FMO

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Illustration by Yunkyo Kim

Associated Student Government’s uncontested presidential slate Teresa Vergara Miranda and Daniel Rodriguez engaged in a town hall hosted by For Members Only.

Emma Rosenbaum, Reporter

Associated Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidates Teresa Vergara Miranda and Daniel Rodriguez discussed University Police abolition, Greek Life and equity at a Wednesday town hall hosted by For Members Only.

The election town hall was moderated by FMO Senator Jason Hegelmeyer and Election Commissioner Donovan Cusick. Students submitted questions ahead of time. 

Even though this year’s ASG election is uncontested, Cusick said the town hall was intended to give candidates an opportunity to communicate platforms.

“We still want to encourage the Northwestern community and students to get involved, to go out and vote and to interact with the campaign,” Cusick said.

Presidential candidate Vergara Miranda said she and Rodriguez want to take into account students’ varying perspectives in considering support for police abolition. While there are students who want abolition, she said there are also students who want police protection from sexual assault. 

However, Vergara Miranda said she is open to having more conversations with students with different perspectives.

“As campus leaders, we have to be able to take in different inputs that students have,” Vergara Miranda said. “We have to respect that there are students who want different things on campus.”

When the discussion turned to Greek Life, Rodriguez said the slate hopes to work with administrators to reduce national chapters’ influence on Northwestern’s campus. In regard to Greek Life ASG seats, they said it is up to the Senate to decide who gets input. Before they discuss seat reallocation, Rodriguez said, they need to evaluate the structure of the Senate because it may not be working for marginalized students.

The candidates discussed the importance of centering students with marginalized identities in conversations with administration and in ASG. Vergara Miranda said the slate hopes to establish committees to bring students to the table with administrators. Rodriguez said they would try to ensure that administration is thinking of marginalized students in their decisions, especially in regard to COVID-19 plans.

“Some things we would try to do is be able to (talk) to administrators and be like ‘if your plan isn’t centering BIPOC students then how do we reevaluate it,” Rodriguez said, in reference to vaccine distribution plans.

To engage marginalized students, Rodriguez said they hope to reach out to affinity-based groups and students of color about ways to get involved in ASG and discuss their current experiences with ASG. 

Rodriguez also wants to think about choosing executive board members committed to anti-racism, something that’s already being discussed among ASG’s executive office, they added.

The candidates also seek to center marginalized students in restructuring ASG by reviewing Robert’s Rules of Order, the parliamentary procedure of ASG. Rodriguez said the procedure “has reinforced White supremacy” because it makes members fixate on the written rules, leading senators to police one another during discussions. 

“We want to create a committee with the Rules Committee, outside members of student organizations, senators and members of the justice and inclusion league to help reevaluate how (we can) transition ASG away from parliamentary procedure and into a less combative, more inclusive environment,” Rodriguez said.

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