A Year in Review: Associated Student Government’s key legislation


Illustration by Nathaniel Ortiz

This year, ASG’s legislation has primarily focused on internal reform and inclusivity.

Emma Rosenbaum, Reporter

In the past academic year, Associated Student Government passed key legislation that pertains to a variety of issues facing the Northwestern community. 

ASG sought to address documented claims of racism within the Senate, which resulted in the resignation of both the speaker of the house and faculty advisor. 

Notably, senators voted on legislation aimed at making the organization as well as the campus more inclusive of students with marginalized identities. Internally, ASG implemented changes in Senate seats and the executive board. Members also worked on legislation to create a better community space for the campus LGBTQ+ community.

Former Rainbow Alliance Senator Jo Scaletty said they think the organization has made tangible progress.

“Overall, we’re making really good steps forward and toward a more inclusive space and a more inclusive campus,” Scaletty said.

Campus space for LGBTQ+ community

Addressing inclusivity on campus, ASG passed legislation to move the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center from the third floor of Norris University Center to a house on Sheridan Road. The previous space consisted of two rooms that could only hold 10 students, so Scaletty, the author of the legislation, said the larger area was necessary to help build community among the growing LGBTQ+ population on campus.

“Having a physical space on campus that can fit a lot of people from the community is really important because we are here, we exist and we’re going to continue to fight for our right to do so,” Scaletty said.

The legislation created a timeline of goals, including a University statement committing to the relocation by the end of Spring Quarter. Scaletty said they have met with multiple administrators about the initiative, but the process is slow due to the pandemic. 

The initiative also requires a house on Sheridan Road to become available. Scaletty said establishing a permanent location is important because it would demonstrate acceptance.

Internal reform

While student groups usually reapply for their ASG seats every year, For Members Only Senator Jason Hegelmeyer pushed legislation to grant FMO a permanent seat in the Senate. 

The legislation was originally proposed in spring 2020 by a former FMO senator, but did not pass. While the permanent seat is mostly “symbolic,” Hegelmeyer said, it is a step in the right direction for making ASG more equitable and inclusive.

“Black representation in Senate should be permanent and should be unwavering,” Hegelmeyer said. 

Former Panhellenic Association Senator Pamela Chen also passed legislation removing the four permanent Greek life seats. PHA and the Interfraternity Council must now apply for seats annually like other non-enshrined student groups. According to Hegelmeyer, the previous senator’s legislation for FMO’s permanent seat was catalyzed by the then-enshrined Greek life seats. 

Hegelmeyer called the abolition of the guaranteed Greek life seats a “full-circle moment.”

In addition to changing various seats, the Senate passed legislation to make the Policy Research Committee a permanent part of ASG. The Senate also voted to establish a new executive office position, the executive officer of accountability, to ensure follow-through on initiatives, especially those involving marginalized students.

Additionally, ASG passed legislation to create the Ad Hoc Committee to Reimagine ASG, which focuses on ways to equitably restructure the organization. 

In its two-quarter run, the committee helped pass legislation to reform the selection process of the executive board, according to Scaletty, a committee member. The legislation requires cabinet nominations to be approved by the Senate, rather than just ASG’s president and vice president. 

Scaletty said the change was meant to increase inclusion, since senators represent more of the student body.

The new committee will dissolve at the end of Spring Quarter. While it helped continue conversations around reform, Hegelmeyer, another committee member, said he thinks the committee was transitional to the new executive board. 

“With Christina (Wade) and Ada (Ogbonna’s) presidency and the new executive board, I think we’ll be able to actually start doing real change,” Hegelmeyer said.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @emmacrosenbaum

Related Stories:

ASG creates and inducts first executive officer of accountability

Q&A: Student body president Christian Wade discusses next steps, student advocacy and ASG return to campus