Board considers funding free menstrual products

Hannah Catlin

This week’s MCSG meeting commenced with the now-official weekly moment of reflection on the stolen Dakota land Macalester is built on. MCSG Vice President Ariana Hones ’18 framed the moment with the Trump administration’s recent decision to reduce the formerly-indigenous land dedicated to the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments in Utah.

“Land that has already been stolen once is now being stolen again,” Hones said.

The Legislative Body (LB) then discussed their thoughts on concrete actions it could take to better acknowledge Macalester’s role in the oppression of indigenous people.

The body briefly discussed a few ideas, including using MCSG connections to advertise cultural events and possibly organizing a trip to Fort Snelling to pay respects to the people imprisoned there when the fort served as a concentration camp during the US-Dakota war of 1862.

After that conversation concluded, Molly Flerlage ’18 announced that Sustainability Week was a success, with a higher-than-expected turnout. Rachel Stromsta ’19 asked for feedback on the MCSG newsletter.

Next, MCSG President Suveer Daswani ’18 asked LB members for updates on the projects they’ve been working on this semester or hope to work on in the future. He called this section of the meeting “Project Soup.”

The group discussed projects like the clothing drive, the book drive, and this year’s community meal in addition to ideas for next semester. Those include a way to give more students access to athletic trainers and drafting official documentation for an org-council.

The LB then turned to a proposal from Hones to make menstrual products free on campus as early as next semester.

The idea would be to take surplus from the student activity fee and allocate it to this project. Hones clarified several times that this would not constitute an increase in the activity fee, but that she and other interested participants would look through the budget carefully, cut out waste, and use any extra money to fund the project.

According to Hones, the initiative would cost about $3,500 a month – a calculation based on the cost of the cheapest brand of organic tampons.

The LB discussed where these products would be available, and eventually decided that they would likely be put in all restrooms on campus.

The group largely supported the proposal, only expressing concern that Macalester is an open campus and that visitors to campus could take the available products for their own use.

After considering this for a few minutes, however, the LB decided that this potential loss was financially negligible and that having free menstrual products available on campus was more important.

The meeting adjourned with several reminders and updates for the body, at which point the LB then broke off by class year for further discussion.

A full transcript of the meeting is available on the MCSG website.