Objectivists cited with misconduct

November 20, 2003

By Sarah Halasaz and Alison Knezevich at The Daily Northwestern

Associated Student Government senators voted to adjourn halfway through the group’s agenda at its weekly meeting Wednesday night after spending nearly three hours discussing misconduct recommendations.

The Senate ultimately voted to uphold financial- and group-misconduct recommendations against the Objectivist Club for involvement in an anti-affirmative action bake sale Oct. 31.

As a result the ASG-recognized group must schedule all programming and meeting places Winter Quarter through ASG’s Executive Committee. In addition, the group cannot use its Student Organization Finance Office account to fund events.

The Executive Committee report charged the group with “ineffectual leadership,” misleading the administration to believe that the event was a fund-raiser and operating without a SOFO cash box.

“We need to make sure that they know the rules so this doesn’t happen again,” said Bryan Tolles, ASG’s executive vice president.

Objectivist Club President Igor Dubinsky said the group was disappointed with the decision.

“We were here to defend ourselves for what we thought was a rational audience,” said Dubinsky, a Weinberg senior. “But this wasn’t about rules broken or whatever hazy guidelines were broken. This was about people disagreeing with our anti-affirmative action bake sale.”

Dubinsky said the ruling was “absurd,” and that conflicting allegations were nonsensical.

“How could we mislead the administration if we didn’t know the reservations (for space at The Rock) were under our name?” Dubinsky said.

The Student Activities Finance Board also presented a report about its inquiry into the College Republicans’ financial actions involving the bake sale. SAFB did not file financialmisconduct charges because College Republicans did not agree to co-sponsor the event, said Erica Williamson, ASG’s financial vice president. After the debates the Hate Crimes Task Force presented its preliminary report.

Recommendations included stricter punishments for those convicted of hate crimes, a diversity curriculum requirement and a protocol for supporting hate-crime victims.

Richard Goldberg, co-chairman of the task force, stressed that students should collaborate with the administration.

“The administration is not the enemy in this,” said Goldberg, a Medill senior. “These are people who have dedicated their lives to working with students.”

Senators adjourned before considering three bills related to safety, which angered the bills’ authors and supporters.

“We got zero things accomplished for students tonight,” said Christina Appleton, who sponsored a bill that would ask administrators to buy keychain safety alarms for students. “People were more concerned with going home than talking about safety issues, which affect the lives of every Northwestern student.”

Appleton, a Weinberg junior and former sorority senator, said the delay in hearing her bill could have an adverse affect on acquisition of the safety alarms. Last year it took about six months to secure safety whistles for students.

Off-campus senator Meredith Kesner agreed with Appleton that senators should have stayed to hear the bills.

“If you’re a senator and you’re not prepared to stay half an hour for your constituency’s safety, then maybe you can think about resigning,” said Kesner, a Medill senior.

Senators also heard from Ald. Elizabeth Tisdahl (7th), whose ward could contain a significantly larger percentage of students if the Evanston City Council passes a proposed ward redistricting map at its meeting Monday.

Tisdahl told senators she plans to improve town-gown relations by opening up more lines of communication between the university and the City Council.

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Schools: Northwestern University