MCSG resolution plans to facilitate communication among student committees and administration

By April DeJarlais

Following complaints over student involvement with the administrative process during the procedure to purchase a new cooling system, the Macalester College Student Government passed a resolution calling for the administration to make more of an effort to involve students. Now that issue has become the central theme of an effort to increase discussions among students, as well.The resolution acknowledges students concerns over communication and requests that the administration “considers and ushers more student involvement in both long term as well as immediate decisions that apply to our community.”

It also calls for the meetings of the Task Force on Budgets to be more open to the MCSG President and Vice President.

MCSG President Alison Tray said that the MCSG is organizing a series of events aimed at increasing discussions around campus overall.

“From year to year, there tends to be communication disconnects between student representatives on campus committees and each other, and those reps and the student body,” Tray wrote in an e-mail. “The goal of our resolution was to take positive steps in increasing rep-rep communication, and rep-student body communication.”

MCSG is hoping to hold monthly summit meetings of student organization chairs next semester. Students are able to voice their concerns and opinions more directly when they talk with other students rather than administration, MCSG president Alison Tray said.

“Monthly summits, which would be open and the minutes would be publicized, would create a structure for this communication to take place,” Tray wrote in an e-mail. “It would allow the representatives to engage each other, and other fellow students.”

The group summits will allow students to make cohesive opinions to present to the college, and will create further momentum for solving problems, Tray said.

Current issues students want to address include health services, financial aid, textbooks, library reserves, and the quality of residence halls, in response to a recent leak in the Veggie Co-op.

Those were the issues that Tray, along with Chair of the Financial Advisory Committee Alex James, brought up at a recent meeting of the Task Force on Budget. Tray said that she felt like they were received well, and that the administrative leaders at the meeting were willing to listen to their concerns.

Dean of Students Jim Hoppe called communication building an “ongoing evolution.”

The student committees and organizations provide some of the most direct connections between students and administration.

This year, the Campus Climate Committee has been added, which will bring students and members of the administration together. Meetings will be held at 11 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month in the Weyerhaeuser boardroom. The next will be Dec. 4. All students are welcome.

Students and administrators alike are addressing the issue of permanent campus space for student organizations. The number of student organizations requesting space is growing. Administrators hope to use spaces like the former exercise room in Turck Hall, George Draper Dayton practice rooms and the Kirk computer lab in order to accommodate their demands.

Administrators make visits to student organizations several times a month, and student committees focusing on sexual assault and alcohol policies have been created.

Student organizations are coming together to strengthen the communication among themselves, as well as between students and staff.

There is much disconnect between student organizations as of now, Tray said. Student committee chairs need to work together on getting information out to the general student body to engage more of them in making campus decisions.

While student-to-administration relations at Macalester are not bad, they can always be better, Tray said. Students feel more empowered and involved on their campus if they have a voice in making the decisions that will affect them.

“I believe the administration always strives to seek out students, and part of that includes the importance of students also seeking out administrators,” Tray wrote in an e-mail. “There have been many improvements and positive steps taken this semester in particular.