MCSG calls for student input on rollover money

By Diego Ruiz

In a presentation on Tuesday, Macalester College Student Government’s Student Services and Relations Committee outlined their proposed plan to use the rollover – which consists of six years of unused student activity fees, according to an MCSG press release. The presentation by MCSG vice president Jesse Horwitz ‘13, titled “How to Solve the Rollover Crisis in Eight Easy Steps,” outlined a way to decide on what to spend the rollover money by Thanksgiving Break. Pending modifications by MCSG, the process will start next week. The first two steps involve forums. The first forum, scheduled for Oct. 20 from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m., would explain the basics of what the rollover is, what caused it, and the broader context of last years’ debate, which caused tensions to run so high that some proposed the restructuring and dissolution of MCSG. Horwitz said he hoped this discussion stayed more focused specifically on the rollover than last year’s. “I think there was a lot of confusion, misunderstanding, and generally a lot of people wanting to know about this whole thing,” Horwitz said. “We don’t want that sort of vacuum of confusion that happened last year.” The next forum, scheduled for 4:00- 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 23, would be when students bring their ideas for using the rollover money. The third step would involve each idea having an individual advocate, leading to the fourth step: MCSG deciding which ideas are feasible, legal, and fair. Horwitz said he expects that most ideas will pass this step. Horwitz said that “fair” meant that whatever is done with the rollover funds be “for all students and not for specific people. It would have to benefit more than just a narrow segment of the student body … we’d like all students to enjoy it.” The fifth step would be a workshop with idea advocates, MCSG reps, SSRC reps, and a representative from the administration that Horwitz said would “flesh out” ideas and figure out “logistics.” The next step would be a survey (slated to open on November 6th) for students to say what they want with the rollover, without mentioning specific ideas. The last two steps would be a public presentation of ideas and then a vote opening on Nov. 17th for students to choose once and for all how to spend the rollover. The process is not set in stone: it may still be adjusted throughout. While many MCSG members and those who came to the meeting approved of the process as presented, some had critiques. Adrienne Epstein ’12 said the “low turnout” for the meeting (which had less than ten attendees in addition to MCSG members) was because students were notified without much advance notice. An e-mail went out to the student body six hours before the meeting started. Senior MCSG representative Brett Srader ’12 said that MCSG needs to “acknowledge that mistakes were made throughout the entire process.” Last year, Srader said, “MCSG was trying to defend ourselves to everyone” rather than admit mistakes. Ellen Washington ’13, a Junior representative who was elected to MCSG after criticizing the rollover process last year, agreed. “Members don’t have to always defend MCSG,” said Washington. MCSG President Kathy Kim ’12 said she was optimistic that the rollover discussion would be more productive this year because they would not be figuring out the process as they went along. “What will help us this semester is having a set plan,” said Kim.