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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Student Senate


The Student Senate of Northwestern University, established in 1960, was an elective governing body with responsibility for oversight of all student organizations as well as other student government organizations. Replacing the Student Governing Board (see Series 31/6/14), the Student Senate was designed to be more representative of the student body, less factious, and more powerful than its predecessor.

The Senate membership included a president and a vice-president elected by the whole campus, the elected presidents of the four classes, four senators from each of the three upper classes, and five senators from the freshman class. In addition, representatives from a number of independent, self-governed campus organizations called interest groups were members. These included the Inter-fraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council, Men's Residence Halls Association (MRHA), Associated Women Students (AWS), Men Off Campus (MOC), and Women Off Campus (WOC). The Senate accomplished much of its work through committees such as the Hoover Commission, which developed plans for innovations in student government, the Academic Affairs Committee, the Student Service Committee, the International Students Committee, and the Activities and Organizations-Committee.

During the 1960s, many Northwestern students charged that the Senate failed to advocate their interests before the University administration. Specific areas of conflict between the University and students included Northwestern's strict liquor and drug policy and the enforcement of parietal hours. In 1966 a proposed alteration of the Senate's constitution attempted to remove two major obstacles to greater autonomy for the Senate in regulation policy toward student affairs. Under the proposed constitution, the University's Council on Undergraduate Life (CUL), which was indirectly responsible for the Student Governing Board's demise in 1960, would lose its power to approve Senate legislation. The new constitution also set out to counter interest group power within the Senate. Interest group presidents would be responsible to the Senate and would be required to enforce Senate directives.  Although formal action was never recorded regarding the proposed changes, ideologically in keeping with the student power quest, a trial Representative Assembly was established in 1967. This 120-member body, originally in a bi-cameral relationship with the Senate, eventually gave way to the Associated Student Government in 1969. (See series 31/5/1).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Records of the Student Senate

Identifier: 31/6/15
Abstract The Records of Northwestern University's Student Senate (1960-69; replacing the Student Governing Board (1933-1960) and itself replaced by the Associated Student Government (1969- )), include complete minutes, memoranda, committee reports, correspondence, brochures, press releases and newspaper clippings.
Dates: 1960-1969