MCSG searches for reps for Lecture Coordination Board

By Kyle Coombs

Last Sunday, Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) sent out an Application Google Doc for Lectures Coordination Board (LCB) to the entire student body, asking for students interested in forming the body of the board. MCSG approved the creation of the LCB last year, which looks to coordinate Macalester’s speaking events and bring in big-name lecturers. About $25,000 of the increase in the total student activity fee approved by the student body and Board of Trustees last semester was allotted to the board, which operates on a total budget of roughly $50,000. In its first semester the Lecture Board hopes to garner student support and set itself up for future success, according to the Google Doc that was sent to students. “While we hope to bring a speaker to campus next semester,” said the application, “the biggest priority of the board this year is to think about its long-term development.” MCSG president and co-chair of LCB Kathy Kim echoed this statement, saying that the board needs to take a year to establish a fair process for the allocation of money designated for speakers before it will start bringing speakers to campus. LCB will not distribute funds this semester, but its members will attempt to work out the most fair and balanced way to allocate these funds and organize speakers for the future, Kim said. She assured students that surplus money from this year’s budget will not go to waste. The budget for LCB is designed to rollover, she said, so if it isn’t all used in one year the surplus can be employed in the next year for bigger speakers. LCB will research how similar boards and programs work at other schools, like Brown University, Kim said. “I think that [lectures are] a pocket of school that isn’t well developed.” Mac McCreary, Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) chair, said that a major goal of LCB is to redevelop the perception of lectures and speakers on campus. “[LCB is] trying to change the culture of lectures on campus and make them something people are excited about and go to regularly,” he said. In future years the plan is for student orgs to bring requests to LCB for funds for speakers. LCB will allocate the money to different groups and work to coordinate speakers so that related topics are spread throughout the semester. “[There were] occasions on campus where departments had two speakers at the same time talking on the same thing,” McCreary said. “Students wanted to see both, but they can’t.” Kim said LCB membership should reduce this problem. LCB bylaws state that there should be seven student members, three staff members, and four provost-appointed faculty members. Student members include the MCSG president, PB chair, one member of the Speak! Series, and four other students. Staff members should include the Dean of Students (or a delegate), the Director of Academic Programs, and a member of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. “We are looking for people from many different backgrounds,” Kim said. “There are repercussions we could be unaware of if we didn’t have a lot of perspectives.” The staff members will add a sense of continuity to the board and will promote interdepartmental communication, said Dean of Students Jim Hoppe. “The faculty is represented by a large number because departments bring in big speakers, but coordination amongst them is lacking,” he said. “If we invest large sums to bring someone in, we want to maximize the opportunity [of students] to go see it.” Kim indicated that two to three new members will most likely be taken on this year, as well as a replacement for her co-chair, Tsesa Monaghan, who will study abroad in the spring.