ASG closes quarter with SAFC elections, reforms discussion

    During its final meeting of Spring Quarter, ASG Senate remained busy as it conducted two elections, passed two resolutions, sent off reform legislation to the Rules Committee to be discussed over the summer and passed emergency legislation regarding student loan rates. In the first piece of major business for Wednesday night's Senate, Speaker Katie Funderburg opened up account executive elections for the Student Activities Finance Committee.

    Six spots were available: three for current senators and three for non-senators. Among the senators, Weinberg sophomore Serene Darwish, SESP sophomore Andrew Green and Weinberg junior Kevin Yao were each re-elected to the SAFC. For the non-senator posts, Weinberg freshmen Erin Rotter and Mackenzie Schneider were elected along with Weinberg junior Nebiu Tadele. Weinberg sophomore Philip Holsted and McCormick sophomore Alex Lower were elected to the Dorm Senator Election Commission, which is active in residential hall senatorial elections during Fall Quarter.

    In a deviation from the published ASG agenda, Kevin Harris, vice president for community relations and Weinberg freshman, brought in Evanston Alderman Jane Grover (7th) to speak about last week's City Council decision to ban unmanned aerial vehicles, citing ASG's support in conjunction with the city's resolution as a "lobbying tool for meaningful federal and state legislation." Harris' resolution in support of the council's decision passed later in the meeting with minimal debate.

    However, Grover also opened the floor to general questions and responded to multiple queries regarding maximum occupancy law in Evanston. In a move to revise current policy, which restricts Evanston residents to the "three-unrelated" rule, Grover discussed increasing that number from four to as many as six-unrelated residents in dwellings with as many bedrooms.

    The bulk of Wednesday's Senate meeting belonged to debate of structural ASG reform as proposed by members of the Senate Reform Ad Hoc Committee. Weinberg sophomore Cory Behroozi, Communication junior Sarah Brock and Weinberg senior Ian Coley presented the comprehensive reforms to ASG structure as it currently exists, which included the introduction of school-based senators apportioned by size and two-quarter incoming student senators, along with the reduction of student group senators from 15 to 12.

    Though Senator Coley maintained that student life would remain "vigorously represented," other senators expressed concern at how new senators would be elected, likening it to popularity contests based on name recognition. Additionally, multiple senators were concerned about the reduction of student group senators and how that might affect overall student representation in ASG.

    An amendment to the legislation from Chief of Staff David Harris, a SESP junior, sought to keep the current ASG structure, but reduce the proportions of student senators. This amendment also reduced the number of student group senators (this time to 10) and failed to pass with a majority. From there, Coley moved to send the legislation, titled "It’s The End Of Reform As We Know It (And Senate Feels Fine)," to the Rules Committee for deliberation over the summer break, which summarily passed.

    Senator Connor Regan, a SESP freshman, brought back the Presidential Youth Council legislation introduced at last week's Senate, which quickly passed.

    Before adjourning for the evening (and the quarter), ASG President Ani Ajith brought up a letter from Georgetown University's ASG counterpart regarding student loan rates. The letter, which calls for a short-term extension of the current rate – presented as 3.4 percent – instead of an increase to 6.8 percent, was brought forth as emergency legislation. Referring to it as "an opportunity for Northwestern to show leadership at the national level," Ajith, a Weinberg junior, proposed signing the letter as ASG's president. Instead, Senate unanimously passed the motion to support the letter as an organization.

    Editor's note: An earlier version of this story erroneously listed Kevin Harris as a senator. Thanks to commentor Anon for pointing out the error.


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