The Daily Explains: The current status of Greek life seats in the ASG Senate


Daily file illustration by Olivia Abeyta

In 2019, an agreement between ASG and the Greek councils reduced the total number of Greek life seats from ten to four, one for each council. Two years later, there are just two seats.

Pavan Acharya, Assistant Campus Editor

Before May 2019, four Greek councils on campus held 10 seats in the Associated Student Government Senate. But after multiple amendments to the ASG constitution, just two Greek council Senate seats exist today between the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, though the NPHC seat is currently vacant.

The decline of seats has represented an overall shift in ASG’s attitudes toward Greek Life. Last year, ASG released a statement calling for the University “to take concrete steps towards (Greek organizations’) ultimate removal from campus.”

Under the old structure, MGC and NPHC both held two ASG Senate seats, while the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association received three each. The 2019 agreement between ASG and the Greek councils reduced the total number of seats to four, one for each council. At the time, ASG officials said the changes were in response to low Greek Life attendance at weekly Senate meetings.

Two years later, the two seats for IFC and PHA were also abolished.

Weinberg junior Dylan Jost was speaker of the senate in Spring 2021, a position he still holds. Along with the increased presence of the Abolish Greek Life movement on campus, Jost said multiple factors contributed to the removal of the two seats. 

“There was a big problem with attendance among (the Greek council groups), and they didn’t seem to be particularly interested in ASG or in representing the institution,” Jost said.

The legislation abolishing the IFC and PHA seats stated that Greek Life is “rooted in racism and anti-blackness, misogyny, classism, homophobia, and transphobia,” similar to sentiments expressed by the AGL movement. 

MGC and NPHC seats have remained partly because those councils cater to a more diverse set of students on-campus than IFC or PHA, Jost said. MGC oversees Latine, Asian and multicultural groups, and NPHC represents seven historically Black fraternities and sororities.

Jost said the Senate has no plans at this time to reassess the enshrinement of the MGC and NPHC seats in the institution and is currently working to fill the NPHC seat. 

Weinberg senior Michelle Zhang was the MGC senator when the PHA and IFC seats were abolished. She voted in favor of abolishing the seats. 

The legislation was authored by then-PHA senator Pamela Chen. Zhang said Chen recognized that PHA and IFC were not properly using their power within the Senate at the time.

“It was just very clear that they didn’t care and that they had this power that was just there, while the rest of us had put in a lot of effort to get to that same position,” Zhang said.

The MGC senator seat is currently held by McCormick senior Javier Cuadra. He also served as the MGC senator from spring 2018 to spring 2019.

Although MGC holds one fewer seat than in 2019, Cuadra said he thinks the current makeup works well. He said it was difficult for the smaller organization to fill two seats annually.

Cuadra said he hopes to start a dialogue with ASG Vice President and SESP junior Donovan Cusick about where MGC stands in ASG, since the multicultural Greek organization serves students of marginalized identities.

Cuadra added that he believes the two current Greek Life seats should remain permanently since both MGC and NPHC represent groups historically sidelined in Greek life systems at Northwestern and beyond. 

“There’s a rich culture behind these Greek organizations,” Cuadra said. “These organizations would not exist if there was an alternative at the time to them.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @PavanAcharya02

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