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 presidential candidates talk restructuring ASG, increasing student group representation at debate

Isaiah Steinberg/The Daily Northwestern
ASG Presidential candidates participated in an annual debate in Harris Hall Sunday.

Associated Student Government presidential candidates gathered in Harris Hall to talk structure, representation and funding at an annual debate on Sunday ahead of this week’s presidential election.

SESP sophomore Caleb Snead and Weinberg sophomore Ty’Shea Woods are running as co-presidents. Weinberg junior Nicole Aguilar-Medina is running for president with SESP junior Anna Alava as her vice presidential running mate.

Snead and Woods said during the debate their top priority is to secure additional funding for student groups, specifically affinity groups.

Aguilar-Medina and Alava said during the debate the three pillars of their campaign are equity and inclusion, supporting campus life, and bringing ASG to students. If elected, the pair said they would like to restructure the ASG Senate to make it more accountable to the student body. Specifically, Alava said she wants to allow senators and all students to meet with the administration directly.

Candidates on both tickets have experience in leadership roles within ASG. Snead is the chair of the Finance Committee, and Woods is the co-executive officer of justice and inclusion.

Aguilar-Medina is the Alianza student group senator and the chair of the Board of Financial Review. Alava is the Asian Pacific American Coalition student group senator and the deputy chair of the Justice and Inclusion Committee.

The debate was moderated by NNN News Director Gabrielle Khoriaty and Technical Director Max Rothfeder. In addition to NNN’s questions, ASG Election Commissioner Paul Graham and Executive Officer of Democracy Dylan Jost asked questions sourced from the student body.

The Daily was initially set to co-moderate the debate with NNN, but voluntarily withdrew after candidates objected to The Daily’s involvement. Several student organizations have signed a petition to boycott The Daily after a representative with Students Publishing Company — The Daily’s parent company — filed a criminal complaint against two students in connection with the circulation of fake copies of The Daily in October.

Aguilar-Medina and Alava said their priority is to center equitable policy across the board. The pair have declined to speak with The Daily in reaction to SPC’s criminal complaint, as have Snead and Woods.

“We want to heavily prioritize revising procedures to ensure more equity and communication with student groups,” Alava said.

Snead and Woods highlighted their experience procuring funding for ASG. Snead said last year, as the chair of the Finance Committee, he successfully lobbied University administration to decrease the gap between ASG funding and requested funds from student groups and helped secure additional funding to affinity groups.

Part of the ASG president’s role is to serve as the chief student ambassador to the administration, a system which both campaigns identified as an issue. Alava said she would like senators to be able to advocate directly to the administration.

Snead and Woods also discussed amplifying student voices through ASG. They said they want to include non-ASG students in meetings with the administration so they can be active agents in creating change at NU.

Both campaigns placed a significant emphasis on increasing the support for student groups. Aguilar-Medina and Alava proposed restructuring ASG to involve more students and more student groups; Snead and Woods proposed advocating for additional funding for student groups to address last year’s budget shortfall.

Aguilar-Medina said her background as a Latina student informs her desire to amplify student voices. She said she didn’t feel like she belonged when she arrived at NU, and she wants to support marginalized groups through her role in ASG. She also said she wants University Police to be disbanded in response to the alleged over-policing of marginalized groups.

Last year’s presidential election, in which current co-presidents Donovan Cusick and Molly Whalen ran unopposed, voter turnout reached a record low of 2%. The Election Commission Committee moved up the presidential election to the Winter Quarter this year in an effort to increase voter turnout and allow for a longer transition period.

“We want to make sure that y’all are involved in processes such as ASG elections, so that your voices are actually heard and implemented into every single thing that we do on this campus,” Woods said.

Students can vote on Wildcat Connection from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Saturday using a link that will be sent to all students’ emails.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Ty’Shea Woods’ and and Nicole Aguilar-Medina’s current positions in ASG and suggested that ASG Senate meetings are not open to all students. The Daily regrets the errors.

Email: [email protected]

X: @IsaiahStei27

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ASG Senate passes legislation moving presidential elections to Winter Quarter

Donovan Cusick and Molly Whalen win ASG presidential election while turnout rate hits record-low of about 2%

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