ASG this week filled the associate vice president position, which had been vacant since May and passed legislation subsidizing Dance Marathon registration for students who demonstrate financial need.
The Senate confirmed Thaddeus Tukes, a Medill and Bienen sophomore, for the position of Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. Tukes says he intends to use the position to discuss with student group leaders, faculty and administration how Northwestern can make itself more inclusive of all students.
Tukes’ nomination comes from a new committee established by President Ani Ajith and Executive Vice President Alex Van Atta following a contentious debate last spring when ASG failed to confirm Ajith’s candidate for the position Senate filled tonight. Tensions over race and diversity on campus made the position a focus of controvesy, and Ajith’s nominee attracted criticism from ASG Senators and various student groups.
Tukes drew on his experience as opinion editor of Pulse magazine presented himself as someone skilled at public outreach and capable of building broad coalitions. He said he was interested in building safe spaces on campus for discussion, while encouraging students who feel left out by the university to bring their grievances to ASG.
“We as ASG must impress on everyone how important it is to be a part of ASG…the only way to get change is if you’re there to influence the change,” said Tukes.
Senators seemed to accept Tukes’ portrayal of himself as a capable leader. The closed-door discussion that followed the nomination ended quickly, and Tukes was sworn in to widespread applause.
The Senate also passed legislation to provide money out of the Senate Project Pool to subsidize Dance Marathon registration, in a move that bypassed traditional legislative routes and rankled some Senators.
Multiple co-chairs from Dance Marathon, including PR co-chair and ASG Chief of Staff David Harris, authored a bill appropriating $4,000 to help pay for Dance Marathon registration for students who demonstrate financial need. The authors said that according to feedback from last year’s Dance Marathon, the registration fee was the number one reason students did not participate in Dance Marathon if they were otherwise able to. Students with "high financial need" are able to apply for activities scholarships through the Center for Student Involvement's Student Activities Scholarship Fund; the ASG appropriations are for those students who cannot pay the registration but do not meet CSI's requirements.
The $4,000 subsidy comes out of the $15,000 Senate Project Pool. Previous projects have included Mac charger rentals in the library and free pizza as part of ASG’s Get Out the Vote campaign. DM said it needed these additional funds this year due to extenuating financial circumstances.
The proposal also attracted a good deal of controversy, mostly because senators expedited the legislation directly from “New Business” to “Old Business”, a tactic enabling senators to vote on the bill the same week as its introduction. This procedural tactic prevented senators from discussing the bill with their constituents. Senate business traditionally cannot move to "Old Business" until at least a week has passed, and some senators attempted to vote down the irregular procedure. Nevertheless, the bill passed unamended.
Earlier in the meeting, Technology Vice President Sheng Wu announced that NUIT has asked students to file maintenance reports when their wi-fi service is interrupted, so maintenance crews know which areas to prioritize. Wu also said discussions are ongoing to find a service to replace NUTV, the in-dorm television service that Northwestern discontinued starting this academic year.
ASG also resolved several internal matters this week, primarily filling committee slots. For the 10K Initiative committee, which selects five to seven student proposals for a campus-wide vote to receive $10,000 in funding, the senate confirmed 4 nominees for three ASG member seats and one of the three non-ASG seats. Senate confirmed Frances Fu, a senior in SESP and co-president of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, for the non-ASG seat and Evan Frohman, Nevil George and Maddy Low for the ASG seats. Because there was only one nomination for the non-ASG seats, the language governing the 10K committee allows committee chair Alex Van Atta to fill the two other non-ASG seats at his discretion .
The Senate elections to fill six account executive positions on the Student Activities Finance Committee. The non-ASG committee members selected were Amrit Kanesa-Thasan, Jason Arnold and Kiran “KC” Chilamkurti, while Adam Roth, Sean Earley and Victoria Zuzelo filled the ASG slots.