ASG fails to confirm three cabinet nominees

    ASG confirmed four nominees for Cabinet positions and failed to confirm three others in a lengthy and contentious Wednesday night session.

    “Your job is not to attack people,” ASG president Ani Ajith said to senators upon the meeting’s conclusion. “Today I was really disappointed in this organization … because there was a lot of vitriol of this room."

    Nominees for chief of staff, public relations vice president and diversity and inclusion vice president did not garner the necessary two-thirds approval from Senate. This is the first time ASG has failed to confirm a Cabinet nominee in three years.

    While Senate was open to the public as usual, ASG’s Executive Board declared the endorsement process off the record.

    Ajith said that endorsement periods have always been off the record, which allows senators “to speak in a frank and honest manner” about the nominees.

    Non-ASG members made their presence heard during the confirmation for Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Stephen Piotrkowski. More than a dozen students from a variety of cultural groups attended the meeting in opposition to the selection process for Cabinet members and exclusion within ASG and the broader Northwestern community.

    “People said pretty cruel things about the people up for election because there’s nothing they could do in terms of how the election is run,” Weinberg sophomore Heather Menefee said. “It seems that they need a more transparent system.”

    Nominees were selected from 27 applications by an executive committee made up of people elected by either the student body or Senate. The selection process included a written application and interviews with the committee.

    Although senators were forbidden from discussing other potential candidates during the proceedings, multiple sources confirmed that SESP junior David Harris, outgoing services vice president and former ASG presidential candidate, had applied for public relations vice president. The committee nominated Weinberg sophomore Julia Watson for the role, but she failed to receive confirmation.

    Harris was in attendance Wednesday evening to swear in his successor, Weinberg sophomore Noah Kane. Harris declined to comment on the nomination process, but his supporters said that he was overlooked for the position.

    “We felt that some of the candidates that were appointed were clearly not the best people for the job on campus,” former Academics Vice President Neil Mehta said. Mehta's successor, Weinberg junior Sofia Sami, was installed at the first Ajith-Van Atta Senate.

    During Senate, Ajith said the failed confirmations will be treated as vacancies and that the selection committee will open up the application process “to all undergraduate students.”

    Ajith said the failed confirmations will require the Executive Board to field “multiple crises with no team,” citing McCormick sophomore Dmitri Teplov’s death, the third this school year.

    Once the confirmation process concluded, Senate approved approximately $12,000 in B-status funding for the upcoming school year. They also discussed proposed legislation to hold a communitywide garage sale in late May.


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