This week’s MCSG meeting began with Community Engagement Officer Meera Singh ’19 introducing a proposal to host a student mental health forum – which would offer students an opportunity to discuss the state of mental health services at the college – later in the semester.
Singh’s suggestion received a positive response from some members of the Legislative Body (LB).
“I think this could be a platform for students to voice their concerns about the gaps that they see in mental health at Macalester,” MCSG Vice President Ariana Hones ’18 said. “It would be a more productive use of time by saying that these are issues regarding mental health and this is where we should focus our energies.”
However, the proposal also generated concerns.
“It’s important to remember that a lot of students are still very much so in grieving periods after what happened recently,” Student Affairs Committee member Ogechi Egonu ’21 said. “This is a starting point.”
MCSG President Suveer Daswani ’18 agreed with Egonu’s concern and said that the forum would not take place until after spring break, possibly in early April.
Next, Treasurer of Mac First Aid/EMS Jason Kohn ’20 introduced Mac First Aid’s request for $11,600 for two new high tech mannequins to be used in CPR classes. These new mannequins will be mandated by the American Heart Association (AHA) for First Aid training in 2019.
In response, Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) member Fabian Bean ’18* proposed that MCSG grant Mac First Aid the funds to purchase four mannequins, rather than two, immediately, citing MCSG’s $30,240 capital fund surplus.
“Since we’re already over in capital funds this year,” Bean said, “would it not make more financial sense to get four this year and then one for the next couple of years to spread out the cost?”
The LB granted $23,802 to Mac First Aid to purchase four high-tech mannequins to correspond with the AHA regulation.
Next, Logan Stapleton ’18 and Ana Diaz ’18 introduced themselves as supporters of the resolution proposed by Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) member Andy Han ’19*** to end the practice of publishing the Dean’s List on the college website.
The proposal was introduced last month in an effort to protect the confidentiality of students’ academic standing and reduce academic stress. “[The Dean’s List] enforces a very cutthroat understanding of academic excellence,” Stapleton** said. “We also think that academic excellence should be considered on an individual effort. It’s also really common at other schools to have a private Dean’s List. It’s a breach of student academic privacy.”
“I see this as an issue of student academic confidentiality,” Financial Affairs Committee chair Chris Pieper ’18 said. “Whether or not people love it, I think when you publish the Dean’s List, you implicitly publish which students did not get a 3.75. Because you’re able to interpret people’s GPAs based on this publication, it still is a violation of academic confidentiality.”
The LB ultimately voted to pass the resolution. It will be sent to the Educational Policy and Governance Committee (EPAG) for review. EPAG will then decide whether to send it to a faculty vote.
The meeting culminated with a discussion about mental health on campus, led by Hones. In the last 15 minutes of the meeting, members of the LB separated into four groups to discuss mental health challenges on campus.
Topics of discussion included ensuring that students can reach out to faculty when they are struggling with stress or anxiety and developing connection between resources – for example, Campus Activities and Operations, Health and Wellness, and Academic Affairs – to ensure a holistic approach to mental health care.
“Staff must understand the students as people,” Sustainability Officer Molly Flerlage ’18 said. “We should try to find ways to make it easier to talk to them and ask for help when it’s needed. It’s about students feeling comfortable approaching these types of issues.”
In the print version of this article, Bean was incorrectly titled on the Academic Affairs Committee
**In the print version of this article, Andy Han was incorrectly attributed with this quote
***In the print version of this article, Han was incorrectly titled on the Student Services and Relations Committee