I don’t care whether you’re an gun-toting NRA enthusiast or a peace-preaching hippie. I don’t care whether you support the coal industry for its cost-effectiveness or if you are against coal for its environmental impact. I do, on the contrary, take issue with a few dozen ASG officials formally siding on these issues on behalf of you – the diverse student body of Northwestern.
Don’t get me wrong, I think ASG does many phenomenal fundraising projects, networking initiatives, and advising programs that benefit ALL Wildcats and improve the Northwestern experience. That’s what a university student government should do. And that’s precisely what ASG’s publicized mission is.
I remember a speaker during my Wildcat Welcome week, who gave a phenomenal presentation on the value Northwestern places on diversity and inclusion. He preached beautifully of this wonderful place where all principals were viewed equally; a University that celebrated bringing different political and social ideals together to create “One Northwestern.” Having seen some of the blatantly partisan legislation that has come out of ASG this year, I have come to believe that his entire speech was a load of crap. Is it not completely hypocritical for the Associated Student Government of said “inclusive university” to support such one-sided policies that only serve to divide the student body? Now you and I can argue about gun control and global warming until we are both blue in the face. Fact of the matter is they are both highly controversial matters that have no place in a student government whose mission is to “connect Northwestern.” Call me crazy, but I’m fairly certain that taking a blatantly partisan stance on such divisive issues does not “connect” the student body.
If ASG truly stuck to its “official” mission, they would avoid any and all issues that extend outside the immediate boundaries of daily student life. Want to “connect” the student body? Mind your own business, keep your noses out of controversial issues, and stay non-partisan. It’s really that simple. Now I understand ASG has a rich history of poking its nose in national and global conflicts – ranging from supporting an Illinois abortion law to a resolution that encouraged President Nixon to resign from office.
Whether or not supporting these causes was justified or “right” is irrelevant. ASG is a student government, not an special interest group. It should serve only to represent the student body on matters directly related to the university – not to decide Northwestern “official” position on national and global issues. Want to encourage the disinvestment of coal? Join the Initiative for Sustainability! Support more gun control? Join the College Democrats! These are appropriate avenues to support political causes. A student government that claims to represent and connect the entire student body is not.
I get it, ASG officials were “elected” under a democratic process. They do represent the majority-held beliefs of their Wildcat constituents and thus can take the appropriate stance on a political issue. Right?
photo- Pete Souza