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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Behind the vote: ASG senators pull back the curtain on voting decisions

Illustration by Shveta Shah
Because any legislation passed in the ASG Senate must be approved by the administration, several ASG senators said they consider the feasibility of implementing each policy.

The Associated Student Government Senate focuses on student-centered policies at Northwestern, from funding student organizations and implementing new programs for students to setting internal standards and taking stances on important campus issues.

Although nearly every piece of proposed legislation has passed since 2018, not every resolution has received a unanimous vote, and many types of legislation are not proposed due to various considerations made by ASG committees.

One main obstacle to ASG’s legislative process is that most resolutions cannot be implemented without the approval of NU administrators. Accordingly, several ASG senators said they consider the feasibility of a policy before proposing it or voting to support it.

“We want to put the ASG resources, time and money into plans of action that can have meaningful change,” McCormick freshman and senator Layah Nasr said. “You don’t want grandiose plans or really minuscule plans.”

Nasr said ASG Senate legislation should serve a large group of people, which can include students, faculty, staff and other members of the NU community. However, Nasr said she prefers legislation she knows will benefit students.

Nasr is currently working on a piece of legislation that will attempt to increase student awareness of various health services on campus. She said she noticed many students were unaware about free naloxone training and flu shots on campus.

Weinberg sophomore and senator Melissa Kusi-Amponsah echoed that legislation should primarily be feasible and benefit students.

“I think (a good piece of legislation is) anything that touches a concrete issue that’s seen on campus, is plausible to bring about actual change and will better the Northwestern community and add something we didn’t have before,” Kusi-Amponsah said.

ASG senators’ jobs also involve student outreach. Kusi-Amponsah said her friends often inform her of issues they would like to be addressed. She distributed polls last year allowing her constituents to provide legislation ideas.

Kusi-Amponsah has focused on ASG visibility and a Black students’ rights petition. This year, she is working on informing students about emergency response protocols on campus.

Bienen junior and senator Angela Choi said, in her view, a good piece of legislation benefits students’ college experience and supports students from marginalized or underrepresented communities.

“I evaluate whether the legislation is relevant to the student body and assess if the proposed solution will be beneficial over the long term,” Choi said. “I think about what best promotes happiness and provides support for the success of Northwestern students. Additionally, I reflect on how this legislation will establish precedents for future policies and the values that the ASG upholds.”

The most recent ASG Constitution lists some of these values in its goals, calling on senators to “establish a means for the representation of our interests, ensure student participation in the governance of this University, provide services and resources for students, and foster a more inclusive community.”

Choi is working with Nasr on the informational campaign for health resources, which she said will include a bimonthly or quarterly email detailing health resources for students.

Nasr said most students do not reach out to their schools’ ASG senators with ideas for legislation based on their experiences, but she encourages her peers to do so.

“All of the senators’ emails are on the ASG page,” Nasr said. “So if any student wants to reach out about a problem, they can brainstorm something with a senator.”

Email: [email protected]

X: @IsaiahStei27

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