ASG Senate hosts first town hall as part of four-week trial run


Lexi Goldstein/The Daily Northwestern

Carrie Thomas, program coordinator in the Office of the Ombudsperson, presented on ombuds at Northwestern during the ASG Senate meeting Wednesday.

Lexi Goldstein, Assistant Campus Editor

The Associated Student Government Senate held a town hall meeting Wednesday featuring a presentation from the Office of the Ombudsperson’s program coordinator Carrie Thomas.

The town hall — part of a four-week trial run announced during the Jan. 25 Senate meeting — was open to any student to attend. The meeting model hosted a speaker connecting students with administration to encourage ASG interaction with the student body, according to SESP junior and Senate Parliamentarian Dalia Segal-Miller.

“The next four weeks are very much up in the air, flexible and we’ll sort of see what happens,” Segal-Miller said.

The Senate will invite individuals from different offices and departments to share resources at town hall meetings, Segal-Miller told The Daily.

Thomas told senators that ombudspeople offer informal and confidential conflict resolution resources by facilitating difficult discussions between NU community members. 

“We’re neutral, we’re in the middle,” Thomas said. “So we see people from all sides of the same issue.”

Thomas said it can be difficult for some to speak to mediators if they are required by their job or by law to disclose what they’ve heard. While ombudspeople are not obligated to share anything they hear, they are required to report cases of fear of imminent harm or instances of child abuse.

The Office of the Ombudsperson mostly serves staff and faculty currently, but they are looking to work more with students, Thomas added.

Following her address, Weinberg freshman and Quest+ senator Caleb Snead announced he will be the next ASG Finance Chair. Weinberg freshman and senator Ty’Shea Woods distributed goodie bags — containing face masks, essential oils and candy — to senators on behalf of the Health and Wellness Committee.

“It’s kind of like marketed under health and wellness, but I’ve just been waiting for an opportunity to do something nice for everyone,” Woods said.

Next week will be an asynchronous work week for the ASG Senate, which will be followed by a regular meeting.

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