ASG Senate passes legislation freezing funds for NUCR indefinitely


Julian Andreone/The Daily Northwestern

Associated Student Government controls the allocation of funding to student groups on campus. The Senate voted Wednesday to freeze funding for NUCR after the club posted a controversial advertisement imposing a skull and crossbones on a queer pride flag.

Julian Andreone, Reporter

Associated Student Government froze funding for Northwestern College Republicans Wednesday night.

The body passed the motion using emergency legislation.

The vote, which went through with a large majority, came after NUCR and NU’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom hosted James Lindsay, an author, conspiracy theorist and anti-LGBTQ+ activist, on Tuesday for a speaker event

While NUCR receives funding from ASG, YAF currently does not. 

ASG co-President and McCormick junior Molly Whalen said ASG froze the funding because of flyers the two organizations posted advertising the lecture. One flyer featured sunglasses with a queer pride flag and a skull and crossbones superimposed over the lenses.

The legislation is based on ASG’s belief that the flyers advertising Lindsay’s lecture violate NU’s Policy on Discrimination & Harassment. The policy states examples of harassment can include displaying and circulating “offensive objects and pictures that are based on a protected class.”  

Whalen said neither the speaker’s ideology nor NUCR’s political affiliation played a role in the suspension of funds, which was strictly based on a “pretty explicit violation” of University policy.

“We can’t prevent a speaker from coming to campus as student government. That’s done by administration,” Whalen said. “We focused on the part that we could control, which is student group conduct and student group finances.”

Weinberg freshman Malik Rice, ASG’s co-executive officer of justice and inclusion, co-authored the legislation. He said when marginalized groups on campus don’t feel heard, it is ASG’s responsibility to amplify their voices.

“There is a side of injustice and (one of justice),” Rice said. “ASG does not want to be on the side of injustice.”

According to the legislation, NUCR’s finances will be frozen until the ongoing University investigation into its conduct has concluded to determine whether it did indeed violate NU policy. 

NUCR acting President and Weinberg junior Agustin Bayer said he was “baffled” to find out his organization’s funding had been frozen. He said he expects an apology from the Senate and for the legislation to be overturned because the decision was made without NUCR’s knowledge of the meeting.

“(ASG) did not notify us and they did not involve us,” Bayer said. “Being withheld and not informed about ASG meetings is something that I have already complained about … We consider this an attempt to kill our freedom of expression and speech at Northwestern.”

Speaker of the Senate and SESP junior Leah Ryzenman said NUCR did not reapply for a student group ASG Senate seat for this academic year, despite holding a seat in the previous cycle.

Ryzenman said the NUCR senator stopped attending ASG Senate meetings starting April 13, 2022, three days before NUCR member Weinberg senior David Grow lost the ASG presidential race to former ASG President and Weinberg senior Jason Hegelmeyer.

Bayer expressed frustration that the ASG Organizing Grant specifically offered to “reimburse student demonstrators for the cost of supplies” in an Instagram post Tuesday that appears to reference the student protest against Linday’s lecture. He said the reimbursements show the freezing of funds was “nakedly political.” 

Whalen said ASG does not know the identity of the speaker a group will bring when it grants funding to an organization for a guest lecture. Because NUCR normally books an annual speaker during Spring Quarter, this legislation will likely not affect the group for a significant period of time, she added. 

But Bayer said the funding freeze will have a serious impact on NUCR’s upcoming operations.

“It has very severe (implications), which are the security payments,” Bayer said. “Luna Security was hired at the insistence of Northwestern officials, and they need to be paid once we receive their invoice.”

ASG co-President and SESP junior Donovan Cusick said he agrees with the legislation authors that the NUCR advertisement violated University policy and thus warranted strong action. 

“I’ve been at Northwestern for about three, four years now, and not once have I seen a group so blatantly combine symbols of identity — specifically of a protected class — with harmful and threatening images,” he said.

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Twitter: @JulianAndreone

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