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

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

The Daily Northwestern

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ASG Senators propose resolutions to protect student mental health, honor indigenous communities and limit environmental impact on campus

Sonya Dymova/The Daily Northwestern
Weinberg senior Ben Katz proposed legislation limiting club participation to two clubs for students in the name of preserving mental health, he said.

The Associated Student Government Senate met Wednesday, welcoming Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss as a guest speaker and introducing five legislative proposals to be voted on next week.

Weinberg senior and NU Active Minds Senator Ben Katz proposed a resolution to restrict students to joining only two student organizations to promote mental health.

“It will make it so it is more difficult for people to get into situations where they are overcommitted,” Katz said.

Several senators — including Weinberg sophomore Melissa Kusi-Amponsah — voiced opposition to the resolution. Kusi-Amponsah said the legislation could infringe on students’ right to choose their own commitments.

McCormick sophomore and Senator James La Fayette Jr. said he opposed the legislation because extracurricular activities can be a source of fun for many students.

Katz responded that he did not expect this resolution to pass, but he did intend to start a conversation about mental health on campus.

The second proposal came from Weinberg senior Noah Blaisdell, the NU Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance senator.

In the resolution, Blaisdell urged the University to retract its 2014 John Evans Study Committee Report. He said the report downplayed the NU founder’s role in the Sand Creek Massacre, which killed about 230 Native Americans in 1864.

“We want Northwestern to hold itself accountable,” Blaisdell said.

Blaisdell said he hopes the University will rename the John Evans Center for visiting alumni.

Blaisdell also recommended “having scholarships or some programs for Cheyenne and Arapaho people, or the descendants who are directly impacted by John Evans and his actions.”

Weinberg sophomore and Hillel Senator Talia Winiarsky, a former Daily staffer, proposed three resolutions: one to introduce healthier menu items to restaurants in Norris University Center, one to establish a memorial garden outside Alice Millar Chapel to honor deceased community members and another to stop selling single-use plastic water bottles on campus.

“We are certainly feeling the effects of global warming, and I think it’s embarrassing that the school is still giving away plastic water bottles,” Winiarsky said.

The five resolutions will be voted on at the ASG Senate meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Although passing legislation does not force the administration to implement ASG policies, SESP senior and Speaker of the Senate Leah Ryzenman said legislation is still important because it reflects the needs of the student body.

“Legislation is a concrete, written manifestation of students’ voices, their wishes and what change that they want to see happen on campus,” Ryzenman said. “Legislation hopes to capture that and transmit that message to the administration.”

Ryzenman also said student group senate seat applications will open later this week. Student organizations will be able to apply for a seat in the ASG Senate and send a group member to represent the club’s interests at meetings and vote on proposed legislation.

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