Associated Student Government passed a bill at Wednesday’s Senate meeting calling for more administrative transparency regarding the legal case involving Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein.
Titled “Chabad & Administration Transparency,” the bill was written by Senator Harrison Flagler, a Bienen freshman. Northwestern disassociated with Klein and the Tannenbaum Chabad House last fall.
The bill calls for “the Northwestern administration to help facilitate the disclosure of more information to students regarding their investigation into and disaffiliation from the Tannenbaum Chabad House,” according to Wednesday’s senate agenda. Those in support of the bill voiced a desire for the University to be more forthcoming and transparent with the current legal case between Klein and Northwestern.
“As someone who has seen his organization have the carpet ripped out underneath us with no contact with the administration, I feel with some support from ASG we can show the administration that in the future, transparency would be expected," said Communication senior Matthew Renick, student president of the Chabad student executive board.
About a dozen students came to speak in support of the bill and Rabbi Klein. Many spoke of Klein’s impact on many lives on campus and beyond, including that of Weinberg sophomore Meredith Goodman who called Klein “a selfless man.”
The measure passed 16-11 with six abstaining votes, against the suggestions of ASG President Victor Shao and Vice President Brad Stewart.
“Lance Armstrong started Livestrong and he was caught doping. He’s a sham right now,” Shao said. “It’s not to say he’s a bad person, it’s not to discount what he’s done for the lives of millions. It’s an example that highlights that good people can still do wrong.” Stewart said he fears that this bill will hurt ASG’s relationship with the administration.
“Honestly, the only outcome of this is to antagonize the administration we need to work with on a daily basis," Stewart said. "We have extremely good relationships now with administrators at the upper level that have been directly involved in this incident. Their lawyers will supersede anything we do here. It is a futile effort on our part.”
Natalie Furlett, associate director for the Center for Student Involvement, echoed Stewart’s comment.
“This is not about the University wanting to hide anything,” said Furlett, who advises ASG with matters regarding the administration. “This is an ongoing legal case between the University and an individual. We have no other options. There is a lot of public information you can find yourselves, and you are welcome to do that and disseminate that however you want. However as a university, whatever happens with this legislation will not affect our ability to say what you want us to say.”
Other action taken at the meeting:
- ASG approved B-status group funding at the Senate meeting Wednesday night. A combined $12,802 went to 48 groups for the spring 2013 round of funding.
- Communication junior Anna Kottenstette was confirmed as director of residential life after a nomination vote.
- Senators selected Weinberg junior Katie Funderburg and McCormick senior Motoki Mizoguchi for the Financial Vice President Selection Committee and the Student Group Vice President Selection Committee, respectively.
- Senate reviewed a letter written by the Firearm Regulation Ad-hoc Committee to members of U.S. Congress urging their support for a ban on assault weapons. The letter outlines support for the ban as representatives of the Northwestern student body.
- Members of ASG launched CabCorner on Wednesday, a website that allows Northwestern students to connect with others to share cabs to and from Evanston and the Chicagoland area. Students can register with a Northwestern email account and use the site to check wait times and compare fares. The site links to Twitter and Facebook accounts. More information can be found at CabCorner's website.