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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Student Governing Board



The Student Governing Board (SGB) of Northwestern University was formed in 1933 with the dual purpose of regulating important campus issues and acting as the executive board of the Evanston Campus Association, a loose confederation of campus activities groups in which all students paying a nominal university fee participated. SGB's two aims initially were to foster better student government and to acquire a large student union building on campus.

The Association became less effective as a central financial and auditing system for campus organizations because of the power of the Board of Supervisors of Student Activities. In 1938 the Board of Supervisors was eliminated and its powers of the purse were given to the SGB.

The duty of the expanded SGB as recorded in its constitution was to “provide the means of responsible and effective student participation in the organization and control of student affairs.” The Board's jurisdiction included control over and arrangement of the social calendar; control of student non-curricular organization, enterprises and events via official recognition powers; supervision and approval of financial budgets of all organizations under SGB control; supervision of elections for class officers; appointment of Board of Publication members and heads of extracurricular enterprises, i.e. homecoming; and the publication of the Student Directory and the Student Handbook.

Prior to 1938, members of the SGB were elected by popular campus vote. From 1938 until 1960, six of the members were elected and six were appointed by major campus groups including Interfraternity Council, Men Off Campus, Men's Interhouse Council, Panhellenic Council, Men Off Campus, and Women's Interhouse Council. Representing a diversity of groups and interests, the SGB became a highly politicized and divided governing body. Further weakening the SGB was its subservience to the Council on Undergraduate Life (CUL), an advisory board to the Administration and the Faculty Senate about extracurricular life of students. The CUL, although theoretically possessing no legislative power, had the final word on all SGB legislation because of a provision in the SGB constitution empowering CUL to revise and revoke SGB decisions and constitutional amendments.

Tension between the SGB and the CUL came to a head in a 1956 dispute over racial and religious discrimination in Greek houses on campus. Chiefly through a combination of factionalization and conflict between the SGB and the CUL, the SGB was rendered impotent. The Student Senate, designed to be more representative of the student body and a less partisan and more powerful governing body, replaced the SGB in 1960.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Records of the Student Governing Board

Identifier: 31/6/14
Abstract This series comprises minutes, correspondence, memoranda and reports of Northwestern University's Student Governing Board (SGB) for the years 1932-1960. Also included are scattered reports by SGB committees, SGB brochures, and newspaper clippings from 1941 to 1960. The minutes span the years from 1937 to 1960. Typically, the minutes record discussions of special extracurricular campus events, cheerleaders, the Model United Nations, elections procedures, gambling on campus, cheating on tests,...
Dates: 1932-1960