By Amanda Hoover, news editor

The Student Government Association (SGA) voted on potential referenda for the annual student government elections on Monday, March 16. The referenda gives the student body the opportunity to vote on ideas deemed feasible, fair and in accordance with university policy by SGA.

At the SGA meeting, four student groups presented their referendum questions in hopes of making it onto the ballot, which opens March 26. In order to have a question considered for the referenda, each needed to obtain 750 student signatures by 6 p.m. on Monday. Senators were asked to vote on each referendum, of which three of the four passed.

Student group 15 Now proposed a question asking if all campus employees – excluding work study students, who are paid federally – should be paid $15 per hour or the salary equivalent. If Northeastern were to increase wages to $15 per hour, it would become the first university nationwide to institute such a policy. In Seattle, a $15 per hour minimum wage has already been instituted city-wide, 15 Now noted.

Employees of outside contractors, such as those working in restaurants in Curry Student Center, whose parent companies failed to increase wages to the $15 requirement, would have their wages subsidized by the university. The question was put on the ballot with 34 votes in favor, seven opposed and nine abstaining.

The next group, comprised of members of NU Sexual Health, Advocacy, Resources and Education (SHARE)’s Sexual Assault Response Campaign, proposed a question that would allow students to vote on the creation of a Gender Resource Center on campus, which would act as a physical space for Violence Support, Intervention and Outreach Network at Northeastern (ViSION).

The language of the question would read, “Do you want a resource center on campus focused on addressing gender issues, including discrimination, sexual assault and domestic violence, that would provide a safe, physical space for collaboration, survivor resources, student organization meetings, workshops and campus outreach and education?”

Members of NU SHARE noted that most other major universities have had women’s and gender resources on campus since the 1960s.

The measure was put on the ballot with a vote of 54 in favor, zero opposed and zero abstaining.

Two students from Northeastern’s Queer Student Union presented a ballot question that asks students to support an increase in the number of single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms. On campus currently, Northeastern advertises more than 30 gender neutral bathrooms, but many of these are in secured residence halls and are not accessible to all students who may need them.

The question would read, “Should Northeastern convert all single-stall use bathrooms to be accessible to all gender neutral students?”

In order to make more gender neutral bathrooms, existing signage on bathrooms would need to be altered. SGA voted the referendum onto the ballot with a vote of 46 in favor, zero opposed and two abstaining.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) presented a question that would ask students if Northeastern should divest from companies engaged in human rights violations in Palestine.

The text would read, “In accordance with International Humanitarian Law, human rights protocols and the values of the Northeastern community, we ask the Northeastern trustees to divest from companies engaged in the violence in Palestine. We ask that Northeastern withdraw all investments that it may have in Caterpillar, Raytheon, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard.”

SJP noted that Northeastern trustees have agreed to divest in the past in regard to apartheid in South Africa, and could be willing to consider doing so again.

After much debate in regard to the referendum’s feasibility, the SGA senate blocked the question from the ballot with a vote of nine in favor, 25 opposed and 13 abstaining.

The annual student referenda will be open for voting from March 26 to April 2. Students can cast their votes on the three questions on myNEU as well as vote for new SGA leadership.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) presented a question that would ask students if Northeastern should divest investments from companies engaged in human rights violations in Palestine.

The text would read, “In accordance with International Humanitarian Law, human rights protocols and the values of the Northeastern community, we ask the Northeastern trustees to divest from companies engaged in the violence in Palestine. We ask that Northeastern withdraw all investments that it may have in Caterpillar, Raytheon, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard.”

After much debate in regard to the referendum’s feasibility, the SGA senate blocked the question from the ballot with a vote of nine in favor, 25 opposed and 13 abstaining.

The annual student referenda will be open for voting from March 26 to April 2 on MyNEU.

News staff photo.