MSCG Overseer: LB renews New York Times subscription

Hannah Goldfard, Staff Writer

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This week, MCSG’s Legislative Body (LB) heard student organization travel requests, renewed the college’s New York Times subscription and expressed support for a new credit-earning internship opportunity. 

Usually, decisions regarding travel grants would be directed to the Travel Grant Committee. Presently, however, the committee is empty — requiring the full LB to hear requests.

Climbing Club requested $1,240.50 of the $15,000 available for travel across all student organizations, but frustrated several members with a lack of detail in their application. The LB voted to table the issue until next week, at which point Climbing Club will be invited to submit a new application.

“My primary concern with this is the precedent that we would be setting,” said Hannah Gilbert ’21. “Having it be very clear that people need to submit full, fleshed out proposals for them to be approved is a good way to start off the year.”

The LB voted to approve two travel requests: an Outing Club request for $164 and a High Power Rocketry request for $144.

MCSG then discussed continuing to fund a complementary digital New York Times subscriptions for students. Since the 2017-2018 school year, the college has offered an electronic subscription for all students with a Macalester email address. Previously, physical copies were delivered to the campus center each morning. 

MCSG covers the entirety of the expense, roughly $9,800 for a 12-month subscription. The cost accounts for 5 percent of the MCSG operating budget.

Some members were hesitant to approve the expense, wondering aloud if students actually took advantage of the service.

“I would personally feel more comfortable if we did a comprehensive survey of Macalester students to determine if its still being used before we spend the money on it,” Katie Brown ’22 said. “I’ve never heard of anyone using it, so I’m just curious if it does have a high usage rate and I’m just not aware of it.”.

Joe Bentley ’21 offered his personal experience as evidence that Macalester students appreciate the service.

“I think we should definitely fund it. I use the account everyday, I read the New York Times everyday. All my friends use it as well,” Bentely said. “If it’s an issue of usage, then we can just advertise it. I think people would use that, I think the problem is that people don’t really know.”

Em Hayward ’21 agreed, adding a few advertising suggestions. 

“We should continue funding it, with the caveat that we do work on making it more known,” she said. “We should all, individually, make a concerted effort to share that. I can put it on the (MCSG) social media, we can put it in the Mac Daily. If we are going to support it, we need to be clear that this is a resource for the student body has.”

Jason Kohn ’20 voted in favor of the funding, but suggested MCSG look to distribute the cost in the future.

“I absolutely agree that we should renew this now,” Kohn said, “but because it’s a service not just for students, I think come February we should try to split the cost with some academic department or someone on campus, since it benefits everyone.”

The LB voted to approve funding for the New York Times subscription, vowing to advertise the service more and explore other revenue sources in the future.

Before adjourning, the LB heard from Natalie Luo ’20 about Mobilize Mac — a new project proposal from Education, Policy and Governance (EPAG). 

The proposal would allow students to participate on a political campaign or other forms of direct political action for up to four credits during the fall of 2020 campaign season.

“In the past, students weren’t able to be involved in election[s],” Luo said. “The reason that I brought this here was to get the LB’s opinion and possibly [get] you guys [to] shar[e] it out to your friends or people who might be interested.”

The LB will meet again next Tuesday.