The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Staff Editorial: Academic Affairs Commission restores faith in student government


Two years ago, Macalester College Student Government found itself in an identity crisis.The Financial Affairs Commission, risking a major deficit after allocating more funds to student organizations than it had available in its bank account, was under pressure to change. Some were calling on the chairmanship of that commission to be filled by an unelected student filling a work-study position.

The Student Services and Academic Affairs Commissions had become used to carrying on from semester to semester with no true charge and no true responsibility.

This semester, student government has seen the Academic Affairs Commission find its place in addressing issues of genuine importance to students.

The plan the AAC has begun to develop in an effort to ease the burden textbook prices take on students’ wallets has a long way to go. But it is worth noting the initiative the AAC has taken. The results of further deliberations are likely to pay off.

The AAC has also moved to advocate the interest of students in favor of the Mathematics and Computer Science department’s proposal to offer a third major: Applied Math and Statistics. After the Educational Policy and Governance committee initially rejected the department’s proposal, the AAC stepped in, lending form to student advocacy in favor of the new major.

About two weeks after the commission pushed a resolution supporting the major’s creation through the student government’s legislative body, EPAG reevaluated its decision on the major. The department will offer Mathematics students the opportunity to focus in Applied Math beginning next fall.

The AAC is proving that student government can matter. We hope to see that continue.

The larger issue, however, is the place of students in a field much larger than MCSG. The opacity of the spheres of influence at the college mean that the student direction of the college can be disorganized and misdirected. MCSG has an important role here.

The most important lesson we can take away from the AAC’s example is an increasing confidence on the part of students in demanding and working for change with faculty and administrators and expecting to see results.

The pervasive student apathy at Macalester stems, as all apathies do, from a belief that governance occurs above and without the people.

The AAC has put this confidence into practice, and an emboldened student body is the best possible outcome of its efforts.

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