In a defeat for the Northwestern Neighbors community group, the City Council has adopted new rules setting term limits for city appointees to the Northwestern University/City Committee.

The committee was created in 2004 as part of the settlement of a federal court lawsuit the university filed against the city, challenging the inclusion of university-owned land in the Northeast Evanston Historic District.

The current city appointees to the committee are Robert Atkins and David Schoenfeld, who are both board members of the neighbors group.

Under the new ordinance the city appointees will be limited to staggered four-year terms. Mr. Atkins’ term will end immediately, and Mr. Schoenfeld’s term will end in 2008.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Northwestern Neighbors member Jonathan Fiske of 2319 Sherman Ave. said, “Term limits are not what our neighborhood wants, it’s what the university wants.”

He accused Alderman Cheryl Wollin, 1st Ward, of supporting term limits as a way “to push through another favor for the institution that put her in office,” a reference to the lawsuit filed by his wife, Judy Fiske, which alleges that university efforts led to Judy Fiske’s loss to Ms. Wollin in last year’s city council election.

Mr. Fiske said, “Turning this committee into a rubber stamp for the university would be worse than having no committee at all” and that he would rather see the committee abolished.

The neighbors group has aggressively opposed expansion of university landholdings west of Sheridan Road.

The aldermen voted unanimously to adopt the new term limit rules.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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