ASG addresses medical leaves of absence, swim lessons for students in final meeting of academic year


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

Associated Student Government Senate held its last meeting of the academic year Wednesday.

Maia Pandey, Campus Editor

Associated Student Government Senate passed legislation related to medical leaves of absence, parking on campus, dining dollar use and swimming lessons with unanimous consent in its last meeting of the academic year.

Due to low attendance at Wednesday’s meeting, several executive officers and friends of a senior staffer stepped in to create a quorum. Speaker of the Senate Dylan Jost said Senate leadership plans to be stricter regarding attendance this fall.

Active Minds Senator and Weinberg sophomore Maddie Kerr introduced the bill to reduce the minimum duration for a leave of absence from two quarters to one. Kerr said the two-quarter minimum can deter students who do not wish to lose University housing, dining and financial aid. 

Communications Chair Zai Dawodu proposed an amendment that would allow students to retain access to their University housing and meal plan for the duration of the quarter they take medical leave of absence, which also passed with unanimous consent. 

Dawodu, a Communication sophomore, said students going on leave currently have to move out on short notice and do not receive University housing refunds.

“This (change) would just be a minimum — it wouldn’t prevent any decisions from being made on a more case-by-case basis,” Kerr added. “It’s just about giving students a better chance to take leaves on a timeline that’s more accessible for them.”

The Senate also unanimously passed legislation calling on the University to investigate strategies to make on-campus parking more accessible and affordable, as well as legislation to make dining dollars usable on campus vending machines. 

Dawodu introduced a new piece of legislation, “Swim Lessons for Wildcats,” recommending the University offer students 0.5 credits to either pass a swim test or take free swim lessons for a quarter.

The legislation notes NU lies on the third-largest lake in the United States, and peer institutions such as the University of Notre Dame and Columbia University require that students be able to swim to graduate. Drowning rates are also higher among people of color, Dawodu said.

“If your parents may not have been able to afford it or there was not access to a pool … I would love if people had the chance to learn how to swim now,” Dawodu said.

The Senate also voted College Democrats Senator and SESP sophomore Mary Slowinski as student group whip and confirmed Weinberg senior Karina Karbo-Wright as executive officer of justice and inclusion emeritus.

Karbo-Wright, previously the executive officer of justice and inclusion, has organized social justice programming within ASG and will be the first to hold the emeritus role.

“I can’t imagine anyone else that would be better placed to do this,” ASG President Jason Hegelmeyer said about Karbo-Wright. “We really appreciate all the work that you’ve done for ASG, and we’re hoping you can stay a little bit longer and serve in an advisor mentorship role.”

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Twitter: @maiapandey

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