The following is a Letter to the Editor submitted to North by Northwestern and does not necessarily reflect the views of its editorial board.
We are Sky Patterson and Emily Ash, and we are running for President and Vice President of the student body because we see a Northwestern that does not support students. We’ve spent our campaign talking to every part of our campus, understanding the barriers that divide us and the inequities that hold us back. That’s why we’re proposing ideas that will create equality for all: lowering the cost of courses, securing physical space for marginalized communities and promoting health sexuality. Our campus doesn’t need another typical ASG campaign that proposes more band-aid solutions to the deep injustices that the cost of Northwestern creates. It’s time for us to fight the systemic inequities at our university and unite as a student body – not just as ASG – to reclaim our power.
We are prepared to take on these inequities, and we have the experience, coalition-building skills, and proven record of fighting for students to follow through on our agenda. We appreciate many of the ideas Justine and Austin propose. But, we worry that those ideas don’t address the fundamental inequalities we see at Northwestern. “Revisions to ASG’s structure” aren’t meaningful solutions for students struggling to pay for expensive course materials or marginalized groups trying to find space on a campus. We need to go beyond “workshops” and “conversations” about mental health and recognize that the some of the most common reasons students struggle on this campus are inequality and overwork, a lack of more weekly seminars. We are already over-programmed. Prioritizing students’ wellbeing means confronting and correcting the inequity that infects every part of our student experience—and proposing solutions with more than just buzzwords.
We are Unafraid to demand that our university address the rising cost of courses. We need a revolutionary shift to supporting open-source textbooks and discounted software, listing course costs on CTECs, allowing students to see syllabi before enrolling and opening free textbook lending to every student on financial aid.
We are Unafraid to demand our university provide us space to build community. We must secure welcoming and supportive physical spaces on campus for low-income and LGBTQ+ students, and expand gender-inclusive housing and bathrooms across campus. It’s time to support inclusivity on campus with more than just words – we want to offer increased funding to groups that wish to become more inclusive and increase their membership and secure stipends for low-income students who are otherwise unable to pursue leadership because of economic barriers.
We are Unafraid to demand a campus that ensures our health and wellbeing. We need to acknowledge that our drinking culture makes students feel unsafe and expand risk management to off-campus parties by uplifting student groups and using sober monitors, guest lists and other risk management programs. We will foster healthy sexuality by finally providing sexual health products like condoms and dental dams in every dorm and increasing funding for groups like CARE and SHAPE.
We are Unafraid to demand that our university divest from gun manufacturers. It’s time for our tuition to stop supporting companies that profit off of death in schools and marginalized communities across the world. It is time for Northwestern to recognize the will of student activists who demanded divestment from private prisons.
It’s time for a student government that cares about students-- not just its own structure or agenda. It’s time for a university that is committed to equity and does more than just talk about inclusion. It’s time for students to be Unafraid to be who they are and do what they want. Vote for us on April 12th—and help us build a campus that puts students first. In service and solidarity,
Sky + Em