FAC chair resigns

By Matthew Stone

Siddharth Akali ’07 resigned from his post as chair of the Financial Affairs Commission (FAC) late last week. He said he had been contemplating stepping down from Macalester College Student Government’s (MCSG) executive board for about a month and a half.The resignation came days after the Legislative Body (LB) approved an MCSG operating budget of approximately $77,000 for student organization programming next semester. Akali and his commission prepared the budget.

Akali’s departure tops off a semester in which MCSG’s operating fund nearly ran dry after the LB allocated approximately $12,000 to student organizations beyond the groups’ previously budgeted funds. The FAC and LB were without knowledge of the fund’s balance until late October. He also faced complaints from many student groups who objected to the FAC’s decision to cut over $100,000 from budget requests.

Akali described the reasons for his resignation as personal.

“If I could help it I would, but sometimes life happens,” he said.

He said he still expects to lend a hand in FAC matters until a replacement takes over.

“I made sure that everything was clear with the FAC [before resigning],” Akali said. “They know that I’m more than accessible to them. It’s a very comfortable transition.”

MCSG Vice President Jess Hasken ’07 said that a student body election will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2 during the second week of next semester to elect a successor to Akali. In addition, students will elect five representatives to the LB after a wave of resignations this week.

At large Rep. Jonathan Frederick Davis ’08 and Transfer Andy Pope-Rolewski’08 resigned at the LB meeting Tuesday night. Social Sciences Reps. Ihotu Ali ’07 and Trudy Rebert ’07 will vacate their seats next semester while they study abroad. MCSG will also try to fill a vacant seat to represent Natural Sciences majors. The seat has been vacant this whole semester.

The filing deadline for all candidates is Friday, Jan. 27. According to Hasken, the executive board decided to waive the nomination requirements laid out in the MCSG constitution that require candidates to collect signatures from 15 percent of the constituency they seek to represent. A candidate for FAC chair would typically have to collect over 250 signatures.

“Since there are so many vacancies, it’d probably just be easier to hold an election,” Hasken said. This would make eligible student studying abroad this semester, she added.

She said she has spoken with people who have expressed interest in the vacant positions.

Until a new FAC chair emerges, Hasken said that MCSG had asked members of the FAC to each take on two additional office hours to compensate for Akali’s absence. Amelia Koh ’08, an FAC member, described the additional office hours as “a good idea” but not an obligation.

MCSG President Ben Johnson ’06 and Student Services Commission chair Sheena Paul ’07 will split the FAC chair’s responsibilities until the election takes place.