ASG hears constitutional amendment to abolish IFC and PHA seats, passes bill to establish Policy Research Committee

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Daily file illustration by Emma Ruck

Associated Student Government introduced an amendment to abolish Greek life Senate seats and formally established the Policy Research Committee Chair.

Joshua Perry, Reporter

Associated Student Government discussed a constitutional amendment to abolish guaranteed Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association Senate seats during a Wednesday meeting.

The amendment, authored by former PHA Senator and Weinberg junior Pamela Chen and co-sponsored by 14 ASG members, addressed the movement to abolish IFC and PHA at Northwestern. 

“With the (Abolish NU Greek life) movement that happened this past year, Greek life is on the decline at Northwestern — as it should be,” Chen said. “It perpetuates White supremacy on campus, heteronormativity and sexism.”

The passage of the amendment would effectively remove Chen’s former Senate seat. Still, she said she proposed it to oppose systemic racism and intolerance she sees at the heart of Greek life’s influence on campus.

The amendment would level the playing field in ASG, removing the guaranteed privilege granted to IFC and PHA through constitutionally-assured Senate seats, Chen said. Under the amendment, the two Greek life governing bodies would still have the right to represent themselves at the Senate, but they would have to apply for a Senate seat like other student groups do.

ASG will vote on the amendment during next week’s session. 

“(I wanted to) reject and dismantle the structural power that White Greek life councils have in ASG and make it so that if they want Senate seats, they have to apply for them like normal student groups, and they don’t have a constitutional provision that guarantees it to them,” Chen said.

Additionally, senators voted on legislation to officially establish the Policy Research Committee and Policy Research Chair position on ASG’s executive board, which has been led by Weinberg junior Margot Bartol in a trial state for the past year.

The committee serves to bring forth a nuanced analysis of student issues recommended by other committee chairs, the legislation stated. It will provide recommendations for action and communicate research findings to University administrators.

The legislation was passed with all but two Senate votes. Bartol expressed gratitude towards the members of the Policy Research Committee and the members of the Senate for supporting the new addition to the executive board.

I’m really proud of my committee, they did an amazing job,” Bartol said. “I feel very legitimized.”

ASG President Juan Zuniga said making the Policy Research Committee part of ASG’s formal structure was a step in the right direction. 

The committee brings a more human lens to the way ASG addresses student issues and helps strengthen its approach to finding solutions, he said.

“There’s a very clear connection to how we can, as ASG, use research to go and actually influence our policy, especially by not necessarily just relying so much on data,” Zuniga said, “but just figuring out a way to make sure that we’re capturing students’ perspectives, especially those who have not necessarily been in the room all the time.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @joshdperry

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