ASG Senate installed its newly-elected officers, confirmed its first student dining director and defeated legislation honoring the late Margaret Thatcher, all in a Wednesday night’s work.
Rebecca Schieber, Weinberg sophomore and College Republicans president, brought forth legislation titled “Honoring the Iron Lady” to acknowledge Britain’s first female prime minister and her contributions to “female empowerment and freedom.”
“[Thatcher] was a woman in power showing that we can be authoritative and strong without reaping repercussions for it,” Schieber said. “I’m looking at what she did for my chances in politics, and for all the ladies in this room.”
The resolution provoked multiple comments from the Senate during the debate period.
Some senators objected to celebrating a figure with controversial views on various political issues, both domestic and international, including apartheid in South Africa, treatment of industrial labor unions and gay rights, among others.
“Thatcher stands, for a lot of people in this room, for a bunch of terrible things,” Weinberg sophomore Cory Behroozi said.
Weinberg junior Tori Zuzelo and senior Ian Coley opposed the bill on the grounds of irrelevance, noting that ASG should focus on legislation that is meaningful in a Northwestern context. Using ASG legislation to memorialize a Northwestern professor, for example, would be more appropriate than to honor a global figure unrelated to the University, Coley said.
At the beginning of Wednesday night’s meeting, Weinberg junior Ani Ajith, McCormick junior Alex Van Atta, Communication junior Anna Kottenstette and Weinberg junior Sofia Sami were installed as new ASG president, executive vice president, student life vice president and academic vice president, respectively.
“I’m confident that you’ll all continue to build on the foundation we’ve hopefully laid out,” Weinberg senior Victor Shao said in his final words to Senate as outgoing president. “Thank you all so much for your voices, your opinions, your service to the Northwestern community. We’re humbled by your relentless dedication and commitment in everything you do to help make this the best university in the world.”
Senate also unanimously confirmed McCormick sophomore Jenn Huang as ASG’s first director of dining, to act as a liaison between Sodexo and the student body as part of the Student Life Committee. In her new position, Huang said she plans to introduce an effective upperclassmen dining hall plan, implement a “to-go” box system and increase communication between Sodexo and students.
Changes to dining halls – ranging from minor adjustments like the removal of wheels from chairs, to larger ones, including a de-emphasis this year on “made-to-order” meals – have been numerous, and the reasons behind them are poorly communicated to students, Huang said. Her position will function to increase dining hall transparency and provide opportunities for student feedback.
“I don’t want black olives in my paella either, thank you very much,” Huang said, in reference to Hinman’s elimination of popular “made-to-order” specials in favor of premade meals.
ASG also confirmed two new account executives to the Student Activities Finance Committee: Weinberg junior Arshad Haque and freshman Mackenzie Schneider.
Also on Wednesday night, Senate passed legislation, after 20 minutes of debate on various amendments, to reform off-campus senator selections. Proposed by Coley, the measure will require the selection committee to include fewer executive board members and more senators who have direct experience with off-campus constituents.