ASG passes legislation on increasing community college transfers and student job minimum wages


Jonah Elkowitz/The Daily Northwestern

Associated Student Government President and Vice President Jason Hegelmeyer and Donovan Cusick were sworn in during Wednesday’s Senate meeting.

Iris Swarthout, Senior Staffer

Associated Student Government passed three pieces of legislation with unanimous approval Wednesday night and elected two Senate representatives for the executive board selection committee. The Senate also swore into office newly inducted President Jason Hegelmeyer and Vice President Donovan Cusick. 

The first piece of legislation passed, authored by Weinberg Senator and sophomore Stephanie Shields, was titled “Wildcats Need Their Sleep.” It requested that Northwestern’s Office of the Registrar investigate ways for at least one section of all multi-section classes to be held after 11:00 a.m. 

The legislation is relatively broad, which McCormick Senator and sophomore Marcos Rios said was part of why it’s investigative.

“The really cool thing about (the) legislation is that it doesn’t do anything to a department,” he said. “It doesn’t enforce anything.It’s just calling on the registrar to investigate efforts and methodologies … it’s just a research priority, and so I don’t see what the harm is in testing it now.”

The Senate also passed an amendment Wednesday titled “Increasing Northwestern Student Workers’ Pay to a Minimum of $15 per hour,” authored by SESP Senator and junior Valeria Rodriguez. The legislation acknowledges many student jobs currently pay about $12 to $13 per hour, which is similar to the Illinois minimum wage of $12. However, Rodriguez said NU’s current typical minimum wage is not livable. 

Shields said as a worker at Books & Breakfast — a nonprofit dedicated to tutoring low-income students in reading before school — her $13 wage allows the organization to hire staffers they otherwise couldn’t if the wage increased.

“If they were to raise the minimum wage, we wouldn’t be able to employ as many tutors, and therefore these low-income kids from the Evanston area wouldn’t have as many resources,” Shields said. 

In response to her concerns, senators added an amendment to allocate additional funds to organizations so increasing the minimum wage wouldn’t result in a reduction in personnel. 

The last piece of legislation passed Wednesday was authored by Shields and Weinberg sophomore Carolyne Geng, a Justice and Inclusion committee member. The “Initiative to Increase Community College Transfers to Northwestern” called on NU to admit more community college students across the U.S as transfers.

This legislation called on NU to conduct “Northwestern Day” visits, where NU faculty, staff and students visit local community colleges for recruitment. It also advocated for dropping the residency requirement and waiving application fees for community college transfer students. 

College Democrats Senator and SESP sophomore Mary Slowinski voiced support for the legislation, citing a friend’s experience as a community college transfer. 

“(She) was local and was told ‘don’t even try (to apply),’ and she’s here now,” Slowinski said. “There really is no difference between community college and four-year institutions as far as content.”

After the Senate reviewed legislation, SESP senator and sophomore Armaan Ajani and Rios were inducted as Senate representatives for the executive board selection committee. 

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Twitter: @swarthout_iris

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