ASG hit the ground running Wednesday in its second Senate session of the year and rejected a resolution to make Northwestern a tobacco-free campus after a brief but contentious debate. ASG also held internal nominations and elections to fill four vacancies on its crucial rules committee, which ensures that ASG bills have acceptable content and form before they go to general debate and a vote.
Following last week’s introduction of a resolution to support tobacco-free policies by the NU administration, resolution author and Weinberg senior Carolyn Huang took the floor to discuss amendments to the resolution.
In response to potential controversies over the nature of a campus-wide tobacco ban, Huang supported an amendment clarifying that the resolution supported policies that would prevent the use of tobacco and e-cigarette products, not their possession. Huang intended this wording to mollify concerns last week that the resolution left room for the administration to seize tobacco products from students.
These amendments failed to ensure the resolution’s passage. Many senators were troubled by the idea of attempting to further regulate the use of tobacco on campus, especially given that few smokers on campus seem to obey the Evanston city-codes that prohibit smoking within 25 feet of a doorway.
The issue attracted several detractors from outside ASG. Alex Glancy, a Weinberg senior, decried what she called the “mommying and daddying” of Northwestern students, as well as the seeming unimportance of a non-binding resolution meant to regulate other students.
“There are so many issues that pertain to the administration and administration policies,” said Glancy after the debate, “such as the cutting of Norris Food Court hours and the funding for CAPS that ASG and students should focus on instead of policing each other.”
The resolution failed 19 to 10, with multiple senators abstaining.
ASG moved on to important internal business when the Senate voted to confirm nominees Dana Leinbach, a Weinberg junior and APO/DSP senator; Taylor Miller Thomas, a Medill senior and off-campus senator; and Grace Zhang, a Weinberg freshman and senator for CCI/Slivka. These positions had been vacant for the last three years. To fill a two-quarter vacancy, the Senate selected Isaac Rappoport, a Weinberg freshman and senator repersenting Shepard/PARC.
Other ASG business for the week included the confirmation of Saya Han, a Weinberg freshman and Willard senator, to the student groups committee, and a debate over changes to the 10K Initiative Committee, which selects student proposals for a $10,000 project to go before a campus-wide vote.
The committee this year will include three students involved in ASG and three students not involved with ASG, a change from last year’s committee which included only ASG students. Last year’s winning proposal to install benches and picnic tables around campus is currently being implemented.
The selection committee for ASG’s new associate vice president of diversity and inclusion also announced that it should have a nominee ready for presentation to the ASG Senate next week. The position remains vacant following last year’s confirmation process.