Meet ASG presidential candidates Jason Hegelmeyer and Donovan Cusick


Courtesy of Jason Hegelmeyer

Jason Hegelmeyer and Donovan Cusick. The pair have won the 2022 ASG presidential election.

Joanna Hou, Assistant Campus Editor

Weinberg junior Jason Hegelmeyer and SESP sophomore Donovan Cusick are running for Associated Student Government president and vice president, respectively, in the upcoming election. 

The two worked on the Election Commission together last year. Hegelmeyer is the current chair of ASG’s Campus Life Committee and has served as a For Members Only senator. Cusick is ASG’s chief of staff and has also served as a SESP senator and an Election Commission chair. 

“We have a pretty strong blend of different experiences, backgrounds, ideas and knowledge bases (from) the people that we know and different communities,” Cusick said. ”All of those things really helped us reach pretty broadly. That will really be a strong point for us.”

Both will participate in a presidential debate from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, which will be livestreamed on The Daily’s social media pages. The official voting period is from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Saturday. 

The slate’s platform prioritizes representing marginalized students, improving Northwestern’s COVID-19 response and ensuring student voices are heard throughout the University’s presidential transition. 

“We’re the most experienced, we have the most direct impact, we incorporate a bunch of different communities’ identities between the two of us,” Hegelmeyer said. “We ultimately want and know what’s best through our experience in ASG to make change.” 

Listening to and prioritizing marginalized voices

According to the slate’s platform overview, NU’s predominately white and wealthy student body means student leaders must work to uplift marginalized student groups.

“It can be hard to find a voice and a community as a student with a marginalized identity,” Cusick said. “One of the biggest issues the University has is the ways in which it listens to, represents and prioritizes certain student groups … (it) really (should) be held accountable for the way it treats students on a daily basis.”

The candidates said they are looking to expand resources for first-generation and/or low-income students by expanding programs like Books for Cats, demanding transparency from the financial aid office and student enrichment services and providing free CTA U-Passes. Their platform also includes creating a permanent Middle East and North African affinity space on campus and supporting NU Community Not Cops.

Additionally, they plan to re-examine the University’s demonstration policy and provide protected spaces on campus for students to advocate for issues. The two also aim to remove language in the policy that includes mentions of University Police and the Evanston Police Department. 

“We want to change demonstration policy to support student groups on campus,” Hegelmeyer said. “We think student protests are a valuable part of Northwestern’s culture, and advocating for issues worldwide and domestically is something that all student groups should be able to do.” 

Addressing COVID-19 concerns 

The two also aim to address “inconsistent” University COVID-19 protocol, inadequate conditions in isolation housing and limited access to personal protective equipment. Both recognize the continued state of the pandemic, which they said has informed their policies surrounding NU’s response. 

“We want to continually advocate for Northwestern to give students PPE protection,” Hegelmeyer said. “I know there’s been a nationwide shortage of testing and N-95 masks, and we want Northwestern to continue to provide for that if students are going to be on campus.”

The candidates have also incorporated improved quarantine housing conditions into their goals after listening to complaints about food in 1835 Hinman Ave.

Academic accessibility for those with COVID-19 is also a top concern for them. University policy on immunocompromised and COVID-19 positive-related absences has been inconsistent, the two said. 

“We believe that it is necessary that COVID-positive students should be able to watch recorded lectures if possible, have their absences be excused and be able to make up in-person exams once returned from quarantine,” they wrote on their platform. 

Holding administration accountable through the presidential transition 

As University President Morton Schapiro prepares to depart from office on Aug. 31, Hegelmeyer said he wants to ensure incoming President Rebecca Blank listens to student demands throughout the transition period. 

“We don’t want (the transition period) to be used as an excuse to put aside meetings with important student groups on campus because student groups on campus are still pressing demands,” Hegelmeyer said. “Even though Becky may be resettling, (we want to) facilitate dialogue and conversation about important issues on campus.” 

The two want to serve as communicators between the student body and Blank to build relationships with her as soon as possible, Cusick said. He added his time as chief of staff exposed him to many meetings with administrators. 

“It’s really important that ASG, but also the University as a whole, act in ways that represent the student body with some moral reasonability and accountability,” Cusick said. “This year, more than ever, continuity in student leadership is super important.” 

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Twitter: @joannah_11

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