ASG Senate discusses reforms for Ethnic Studies programs, Peer-Guided Study Group registration times


Lexi Goldstein/The Daily Northwestern

The Associated Student Government discussed new legislation addressing Ethnic Studies programs and Peer-Guided Study Group registration times Wednesday evening.

Julian Andreone, Reporter

The Associated Student Government introduced two pieces of legislation Wednesday: one granting department status to two Council for Race and Ethnic Studies programs and the other on reforming Peer-Guided Study Group registration times.

The first piece of legislation called on the University to grant department status to the Latinx Studies and Asian American Studies programs. The bill was authored by Alianza Senator and Weinberg sophomore Nicole Aguilar-Medina and SESP Senator and sophomore Anna Alava. 

Aguilar-Medina said increasing funds and resources for the Latinx Studies program can improve working conditions for professors and allow them more flexibility regarding the courses they can teach.

“I think Ethnic Studies courses, especially Latinx Studies courses, (are) important to emphasize because you do need to learn about colonial roots and colonial ties to the infrastructures of power that you work under and work in,” Aguilar-Medina said.

Some senators said areas of study listed as programs are treated with less legitimacy than curricula listed as departments. Aguilar-Medina said since students are taking the time to study these disciplines, the University administration should be more financially supportive of these programs.

Alava said since CRES professors are currently co-listed in other departments, it is more difficult for them to choose which courses to teach or the specific disciplines they focus on at Northwestern.

“When Asian American students and Latinx students ask for their own departments, it’s very problematic for the administration to give them both one funding source,” Alava said. “It’s important to recognize them both as their own scholarly areas, rather than just one area.”

The second piece of legislation introduced, authored by Weinberg Senator and freshman Grace Houren, proposes changing the registration time for Peer-Guided Study Groups from midnight to the following day at noon.

Houren said her constituents and friends are dissatisfied with the current registration time, which poses a challenge for those with classes earlier in the day.

But, some Senators suggested altering the legislation’s proposed start time of noon to either 8 p.m or 8 a.m. Houren said she considered other times for the new registration window, but determined it impossible to settle on a time that would not inconvenience at least one student.

“I thought (noon) was not too early that people wouldn’t be awake if they didn’t have to, and not too late that people were in clubs or work,” Houren said. “So I thought it was a good middle ground time.”

At the end of the meeting, Director of Student Organizations & Activities Tracey Gibson-Jackson informed the Senate that “uninvited guests,” some pretending to be students, were attending events on-campus. One of these uninvited guests was a houseless individual searching for food, she said. 

Gibson-Jackson advised Senators to contact her if they are made aware of uninvited guests attending an event.

Speaker of the Senate and Weinberg junior Dylan Jost said students should be able to host events and have safe spaces on campus. But, he added he did not have any additional information on the situation.

“I haven’t heard anything, but I just would echo the advice of what (Gibson-Jackson) said,” Jost said. “Safety is the primary concern.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JulianAndreone

Related Stories: 

ASG leadership details Winter Quarter legislative agenda, goals

ASG Senate kicks off Winter Quarter with changes to internal rules

ASG Senate allocates $66k in additional funding to student organizations