Associated Student Government’s recent resolution to halve the “freshman freeze” period, during which fraternities are not allowed to host events or advertise, is a step in the right direction for a more sensible University policy toward alcohol and partying.
We appreciate that NU is not a school like the University of Florida, where Greek life recruitment begins before classes even start. But the freshman freeze policy that initially was aimed at creating delayed recruitment at this point just creates an unsafe drinking environment for new students.
New Student Week is ostensibly a dry week. In practical terms, this is a joke. While some freshmen may be terrified enough of their new CAs to hestitate while pouring that first beer, we suspect that for the majority of new NU students, the lure of freedom from parental strictures means that unless they had previous moral reasons for not drinking, official “Wildcat Welcome” policy isn’t going to stop them. The same goes for attending frat parties.
What freshman freeze really means is that these students are now drinking in unregulated, off-campus environments that are far less safe than a frat house would be. It also creates a situation where anyone hosting the party faces such punitive repercussions for having freshmen there that they might not call for medical help when needed.
Freshman freeze is part of a larger University policy that has essentially ended the policy of having “wet” frats and put much of the Greek system on probation. These policies have led to a less safe environment for the new students they are trying to protect.
While Greek letter organizations take a lot of the bad press for partying and alcohol related incidents, in reality lots of student organizations host parties involving drinking. While we know the ASG resolution is not binding on the University, we think it’s a good first step in the creation of a better and safer NU student experience.
The Associated Student Government Senate met Wednesday to discuss a proposed revamp of the shuttle system and a new sustainability program.
Mary Desler, Northwestern’s dean of students, made a guest appearance.
As the first speaker of the meeting, Desler spoke about Dillo Day topics ranging from safety to free food offered on campus.
"Dillo Day is honestly one of my favorite days," Desler said. "I think you’re going to have a great time at the Lakefill."
The senate unanimously passed a bill in support of the NU Sustainability Fund, a proposal that would allow students to apply for funds for environmentally-friendly initiatives. ASG President Mike McGee said the purpose of the bill was to show ASG’s support for the sustainability proposal.
"We need to get support from the administration," the Communication junior said. "We need to show student support behind this first."
As of now the initiative would receive funding from various grants, though McGee said it could possibly receive ASG funding in the future.
"This is just the first step in showing our support," McGee said.
Following up on a campaign promise, ASG Vice President Tommy Smithburg presented a proposed change to the shuttle system, which he said has been approved by both ASG and University Services. He said the main goal of the proposal is to increase ridership, which has dropped off significantly since 2006, according to statistics from University Services.
The proposal includes changes to the shuttle routes, including the addition of Campus Drive to the current Purple and Purple Express routes. Construction north of the University Library currently blocks the street, and Smithburg said construction was expected to be completed by this fall.
"We think it will definitely increase rider numbers," the Weinberg junior said.
Smithburg said changes to the shuttle system, which also include adding GPS to shuttles, are currently undergoing testing and he expects the updates to be in place in the fall.
Senators also elected seven new members to the Student Activities and Finance Committee, who deals with funding for A-status groups.
Associated Student Government announced changes to campus shuttle routes that will take effect Fall Quarter, with the hope that the shuttle system will be more accessible and convenient for students.
The Purple Route, Purple Express, Intercampus Shuttle and Ryan Field Shuttle will each operate under new routes intended to be more efficient and less confusing to students, according to a presentation prepared by ASG Vice President Tommy Smithburg and others, and presented to the Senate on Wednesday night.
“The common thread within each improved shuttle route is that no matter what shuttle you take, you are guaranteed to stop near the Arch, the Jacobs Center, and Tech,” Smithburg and others wrote in the presentation.
Students from Northwestern’s Qatar campus enjoyed burgers, watermelon and cookies outside Norris University Center on Sunday afternoon. Here on a trip to see the Evanston campus, they mingled with their American counterparts. The students will be here until next Sunday and plan to explore Chicago, sit in on campus and reconnect with Evanston campus students who had visited them in Doha.
The Associated Student Government kept busy Wednesday night with 11 special orders, general orders and items of new, old and emergency legislation presented to the body. By the end of the evening, the body allocated funding to buy water for students on Dillo Day, recognized the Kaibigan group as A-Status and altered its election and campaign guidelines, among other tasks.
According to emergency legislation passed by ASG, Mayfest had originally requested 10,000 water bottles for Dillo Day from Pepsi, in accordance with Sodexho contracts. However, Pepsi donated fewer than 500 bottles, and the Office of Student Affairs was only able to supply funds for approximately 7,500 bottles.
The Senate allocated $853.24 to buy an additional 1,992 water bottles to be distributed to students on Dillo Day.
In the middle of a long Associated Student Government Senate session Wednesday night, the body overwhelmingly voted to recommend the administration make changes to the “Freshman Freeze,” the four-week period - New Student Week and the first three weeks of classes - during which fraternities cannot host open events and are prohibited from advertising themselves or their events.
The specific measure ASG endorsed was the “Northwestern University Freshman Freeze Reform” proposal, drafted by all of NU’s four Greek councils: National Pan-Hellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and the Multicultural Greek Council. The proposal called for shortening the freeze by two weeks, allowing the councils to sponsor events during the freeze itself in conjunction with New Student Week, Greek councils to advertise themselves during the freeze and individual Greek chapters to advertise upcoming events during the period.
In the coming months, Northwestern administrators plan to increase student- and faculty-generated content available on NU’s iTunes U page as well as develop a private iTunes site just for NU students and faculty.
Over 200 video and audio files of fine arts performances, lectures and campus events are now available to the public for no charge on NU’s iTunes U Web site. The NU site was launched in February.
The service, launched by Apple Inc. in 2007 as part of the iTunes Store, enables colleges and universities to post free academic content available to all iTunes users, as well as create a library of restricted material viewable only to enrolled students and faculty.
The current library of podcasts available on iTunes U consists mainly of videos transferred from NU’s YouTube Web page and makes up only a small sampling of the university-related content that will be offered in the upcoming months, said Mike McGee, president of Associated Student Government.
TEHRAN, Iran — An American journalist jailed in Iran has been freed and can leave the country immediately, her lawyer said Monday after an appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence.
Abdolsamad Khorramshahi says Roxana Saberi is “now out of jail.” The 32-year-old dual American-Iranian national had been in detention for nearly three months. On April 18, Iran’s Revolutionary Court charged her with spying for the U.S., and sentenced her to eight years in prison.
Iran’s judiciary said the appeals court, which heard her case on Sunday, had reduced her jail term to a suspended two-year sentence, said one of her lawyers, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi.
"She is entitled to leave Iran immediately," said human-rights lawyer Saleh Nikbakht.
When the Associated Student Government passed a bill on April 29 to support Roxana Saberi, a Medill alumna imprisoned in Iran, some may have raised an eyebrow. Why would ASG focus its efforts on an issue so removed from daily student life?
But the members of ASG have been discussing and passing judgment on national and international affairs since the organization’s start in 1969.
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” –Albert Einstein
Many of this year’s campus-wide election campaigns focused on the need for change in ASG and the “broken” nature of the current system. This reflects not only an interest in change on the part of the candidates, but also on the part of the students who, in the end, made the decision to elect those agents of change. Therefore, it is the voice of the students at Northwestern that we look to better serve in producing this document for a new Associated Student Government. The new structure of ASG presented in this document realizes the necessary and significant changes, which cannot simply be enacted in the current structure of ASG. However, keep in mind that underlying this new system remains much of the basic structure of the current system. This ensures feasibility and smooth transitioning of the new organization.
Within this new ASG, roles are well defined and streamlined. Gaps within the organization are filled and excess responsibilities are redistributed. The accountability of each person within ASG is clearly outlined, as is the flow of information from one person to another. Overall, the new ASG provides greater efficacy and sustainability for the organization to better serve students.
The new structure also encourages an exciting and positive organizational culture. College is a time to raise questions and “think outside the box,” and the new ASG enables this innovation. Additionally, with student needs and wants continually fluctuating, the new ASG allows for flexibility. The organization is constantly evaluating itself and looking for ways to improve. The new ASG also promotes a collaborative culture. The new structure calls for teamwork, and a mindset of working towards a greater vision. It allows for students to become truly passionate about this school.
This document serves as a clarification tool for the new ASG structure. It replaces the rigid, the inefficient, and the convoluted with the intuitive, the effective, and the concise. It is simple, functional, and accessible—it is indicative of the new ASG as a whole.
And ultimately, it is answering the call for change that the student voice has made clear. It is capitalizing on an opportunity to transform the way we think about and do things here at this school. It is asking ourselves what is best for students, and what is best for Northwestern. It is far from the final say, as it is open to the ideas and intentions of students weighing in. But it is the beginning of a fundamental process to better serving the student body. It is the first step to building a better Northwestern.
The University Budget and Priority Committee’s fiscal responsibility fits well with ASG’s plan to become more realistic in its campus endeavors. Kudos to Mike McGee and company for recognizing ASG’s oft-decried flaw of futility by deciding to tackle just one major issue each quarter. This new plan will be an exercise in efficacy for the organization, which has targeted university shuttle services as its first area of improvement for Fall Quarter.
Besides enhancing reliability, simplifying schedules and obtaining administrative funding to maintain the Saturday shuttle service to Chicago, ASG has already secured a deal that will allow students to monitor exact shuttle locations online via GPS tracking.
The GPS service hasn’t been available to students since 2006, and its revival will alleviate one of students’ common frustrations - waiting for shuttles that are late or never arrive. Watching a shuttle approach on a computer screen from the comfort of one’s dorm room will be a welcome upgrade from seeing it finally arrive 10 minutes late while shivering outside in the middle of winter.
Though ASG is often criticized for ineffectiveness, it should be commended for selecting a particular aspect of Northwestern life and making it tangibly better for students. After all, that is what a student government should do. ASG must continue to formulate and achieve concrete goals, even if they seem small. The same goes for UBPC, which should not be deterred by a recession-restricted budget that will forestall major projects for the near future; making bad little things into good little things can make a big difference to the student experience.
Northwestern University Police has decided to change its policy on dealing with illegal immigrants, it announced Wednesday evening.
The new policy was changed due to an Evanston City Council resolution passed last year, but was spurred by a Tuesday meeting with NU student leaders, according to a UP statement. UP “will initiate notification to (the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement) only in cases involving arrests for a felony and/or human trafficking,” wrote UP Chief of Police Bruce Lewis.
The class of 2013 is not only more economically diverse.
Mills said he was also satisfied with the results of increased minority admission efforts that netted a 5.5 percent enrollment rate for African-Americans compared to 3.7 percent last year.
"I’m happy for the admissions officers plus the students who worked so many hours to produce that outcome," he said. "It’s important to say that one good year doesn’t make this any less important in subsequent years."
Mills attributed the increase to new initiatives like the QuestBridge program as well as increased recruitment from not only the admissions department, but current students and alumni alike. The NU Black Alumni Association President Ce Cole Dillon sent a letter early in the admissions cycle to prospective black students, he said.
"It was a wonderful testament to (Dillon’s) time here and what NU has done for her, and I think that resonated with families," he said. "We’ve never done anything like that before."
Associated Student Government President Mike McGee also wrote letters to prospective black students and said he was excited that his work had a positive result.
"My letter was only a drop in the bucket," the Communication junior said. "Everyone helped, whether students went back to their high schools or wrote letters to get NU’s name out there. There is still a ways to go, but I think students really made a difference this year."
Inauguration festivities for incoming University President Morton O. Schapiro have been set for Oct. 7-10, according to the inauguration planning committee led by Sarah Pearson, vice president for alumni relations and development.
The ceremony itself is tentatively scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 9.
Planned festivities include a speech by Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman during the ceremony and a symposium earlier that day addressing “Big Ideas and Challenges.”
The weekend will conclude with a pre-game tailgate prior to the Saturday, Oct. 10 home football game against Miami University (Ohio).
Northwestern will fund improvements to Norris University Center and residential halls and fund the Saturday intercampus shuttle to Chicago, as proposed by the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee, according to a letter from Provost Dan Linzer and Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Eugene Sunshine.
"We were pretty happy (with the administrators’ decision)," said Sandeep Kini, the committee chairman. "We’re not pessimistic, but we were very cautious about what to expect because of the economic situation. The university really takes to heart the needs of the students."
The Planning and Budget group agreed to provide at least some funding for almost all of the recommendations that the committee proposed.