ASG passes resolution to increase MENA student visibility on campus


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

On Wednesday, the ASG Senate passed a resolution to increase resources for MENA students on campus.

Pavan Acharya, Reporter

Associated Student Government Senate passed a piece of emergency legislation to increase visibility of Middle Eastern and North African students on campus Wednesday night. 

The resolution, which was added to the agenda a few hours before the meeting, was authored by MENA Senator and Weinberg freshman Mahdi Haseeb. It calls on Northwestern to create a MENA space on campus, establish a MENA department within Multicultural Student Affairs and form a MENA alumni network, among other specific requests. The legislation also calls for the University to recognize MENA students as their own demographic group on NU forms. 

“This is not only something that’s a problem at Northwestern, but is a problem in the United States as a whole,” Haseeb said. “It’d be kind of historical for Northwestern to acknowledge our own racial group.”

The legislation cites the exclusion of a MENA census category as “part of the wider marginalization of MENA students” as a result of the region’s colonial history and current militarism in the area.

The 68 individuals who co-sponsored the legislation included a mix of MENA faculty members and students from five undergraduate schools.. MENA Student Association President and Weinberg sophomore Sara Ibrahim, a former Daily op-ed contributor, also sponsored the legislation, which she said is just a start for MENA visibility at NU.

“We are making a space for us here at Northwestern, even though this University didn’t really have us in mind,” Ibrahim said. “We’re very excited to speak with admin about making these asks a reality.”

All ASG resolutions, including this piece of emergency legislation, are only put into action if approved by the University.

ASG also introduced the bill “Wildcats Need Their Sleep,” sponsored by Weinberg Senator and sophomore Stephanie Shields.

The legislation calls for NU to offer “at least one section of each class after 9:30 a.m..” Shields said she came up with the legislation based on her observations in an 8 a.m. class where she serves as a teacher’s assistant. 

“I’ve noticed that a lot of students are much less engaged and much less alert a lot of the time,” Shields said. “We lose five minutes in the beginning of every single class because students are trailing in late.” 

McCormick Senator and sophomore Marcos Rios said the bill might conflict with Office of the Registrar rules, which limit the number of classes a department can offer during prime hours from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. However, Shields said she was open to amending the legislation. 

The Senate also approved the confirmation of Parliamentarian and SESP sophomore Leah Ryzenman as Deputy Speaker of the Senate. 

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Twitter: @PavanAcharya02

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