MCSG Overseer: Protest funding issue leads to bill, new theater, dance building announced for 2018

Protest buses made their third appearance on MCSG’s weekly meeting agenda this past Tuesday. Many saw last week’s impassioned discussion of the matter as an expression of the gap between the administration and the student body, as well as a setback in the debate over whether Program Board (PB) and MCSG should be allowed to fund and provide buses to protests students wish to attend.

“I think you all can do the protest bus,” said MCSG adviser DeMethra LaSha Bradley. “You just have to figure out how to vote on the money to do it, and also how to get some input from the student body on what events [they are interested in],” Bradley continued.

The discussion then moved on to how to make the fairest survey possible, one that would reach all students regardless of the nature of protests they want to pursue or their level of involvement in MCSG affairs.

A constitutional amendment, written by Vice President Colin Casey ’17, encouraged conversations focused on taking action rather than debating policy. The changes Bill 0020 proposes to enact in the constitution would enable PB to support student protests. Most of the legislative body (LB) was in agreement that the bill serves as a positive statement of MCSG’s commitment to action on the student body’s behalf.

Financial Affairs Committee Chair Sydney Keiler ’17 said “I don’t necessarily think [Bill 0020] is the way to do it, but I think this is beginning the conversation of looking at documents and power.”

Some members expressed concern that the bureaucracy involved in passing this bill may outweigh its benefits.

Academic Affairs Committee member Cole Ware ’17 summed up the discussion with an optimistic outline of what MCSG should set its sights on next concerning this matter.

“There is nothing… that precludes us from doing what we want to do in either the constitution or the bylaws,” Ware said. “To me, there’s no reason we need to change anything. In fact, I’d like to argue that in the constitution, there’s at least support for the general idea of what we’re talking about… Since there’s nothing that’s preventing us from doing it, I would say just leave them alone and not worry about them, and focus more on how we’re going to achieve what we want to achieve.”

Other notable events of the night included a critique of Sustainability Officer Collin Dobie’s ’19 revised Fossil Free Mac resolution, and an update from the executive officers on the highlights of the faculty and staff meeting earlier that day. The meeting concluded that students can now look forward to a new 28 to 29 million dollar theater and dance building that will be ready for use by the spring or fall of 2018. The administration is still in the process of figuring out where performances will take place during the construction period, but is confident that the lack of dripping pipes and extra classroom space awaiting the performers will make up for any grievances felt in the meantime.