It hasn’t been a month since Neal Sales-Griffin was sworn in as Associated Student Government president, and already the organization could possibly go through, as Sales-Griffin put it Wednesday night, “one of the most meteoric changes ASG has experienced in a long time.”
According to Sales-Griffin, the ASG executive board has been discussing the possibility of changing the current ASG constitution, or even striking it out and creating a new one, based on a proposal made by an ad hoc committee.
“Nobody knows what ASG does, and most people frankly don’t even care,” Sales-Griffin said. “I want this organization to be intuitive and welcoming to every student. Simple to the point that they know how things get done and what we do. The core of the organization, and I’m not sure if we constantly remind ourselves of this, is to make one Northwestern, bringing all students together.”
Sales-Griffin, a SESP junior, says some people have been reluctant to get on board with such an ambitious plan.
“People don’t ask why, they just follow the rules. And that’s a huge problem,” he said. “Rules have their place, of course, but especially when you inherit an organization, when you get involved, you have to ask why. You have to go, ‘Is this the best way we can do this?’”
Executive Vice President Vikram Karandikar was cautious about possible changes.
“Obviously change is a big buzzword, and everyone is looking forward to improving this organization in whatever capacity,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a single person on ASG exec that doesn’t want to do what’s right for the students.”
But the McCormick sophomore said he thought these changes would be finalized “sometime in the next academic year,” emphasizing that such drastic changes need some time.
This assessment was corroborated by McCormick junior Jonathon Koenig, the ASG technology director.
“We’re just talking right now. That document would go to Senate and be discussed by Senate and rewritten, discussed again,” Koenig said.
The process of getting such a proposal accepted could indeed take time. According to Sales-Griffin, the current constitution requires that there be a forum for students to give input on the proposal before pushing it through the Senate. If the proposal doesn’t pass through the Senate, a student petition could bring the issue to a referendum.
Sales-Griffin said that a new constitution by the end of this quarter was a possibility. The proposal from the ad hoc committee, led by Weinberg freshman Ben Armstrong, who is also a North by Northwestern staffer, advocated the creation of a brand new constitution, but other paths are also being considered.
“Some people suggest improving on the current [constitution], some people suggest having to create a simpler, intuitive one,” Sales-Griffin said.
He added that he was aware that the task might not be easy, but he remained hopeful that ASG could change for the better.
“One person [in ASG] made a really good point saying that just because you’re tearing down one bureaucratic structure, it’s very easy to create another one with even more [bureaucracy]. But whether that organization is more efficient or not is for people to weigh in on,” he said. “But I am of the belief that it will be better.”