MCSG Overseer: Mac Republicans present to LB, seek org charter

Oliver Soglin, Staff Writer

This week’s MCSG meeting began with a presentation by Anthony Palma ’22 and Finn Snyder ’23, the two students seeking to charter a new conservative student group called the “Macalester Republicans.”

Palma and Snyder gave a brief overview of their goals for the organization, and then took questions from the Legislative Body (LB). Some MCSG members felt that the new organization would provide an important space for conservative students on campus, while others expressed concern that it would be redundant given the presence of Mac GOP.

Jason Kohn ’20 pointed out that Palma and Snyder’s main issue seemed to be with Mac GOP’s leadership.

“If the problem is leadership and not the org, to me that says the route to change would be through the org,” Kohn said.    

Shosuke Noma ’23, on the other hand, voiced support for the new organization.

“Most of the [students] who are willing to join Mac Republicans are not in Mac GOP,” Noma said. “I feel like it is fair to provide a new opportunity for other students with different beliefs.”

Dylan Larsen ’20 also expressed support for the Macalester Republicans, pointing out that many groups on campus are similar or overlap in the issues they address, citing the Macalester Autism Community, which was chartered last spring.

“Macalester Autism Community was chartered because there wasn’t a space in either Voices on Mental Health or the Chronic Illness identity collective to have those conversations,” Larsen said. “There needed to be another space to have those conversations.”

The LB will vote on the group’s charter next Tuesday.

After Palma and Synder’s presentation, the LB elected their speaker — the person is responsible for moderating discussions and ensuring the body follows parliamentary procedure.

Candidates Karinna Gerhardt ’20, Em Hayward ’21, and Jason Kohn ’20, who were nominated for the speakership at last Tuesday’s meeting, each gave a brief statement and then answered questions from the LB.

The LB then conducted a ranked-choice vote. Kohn was eliminated in the first round and Hayward was elected speaker in the second.

“One of the biggest reasons I joined MCSG was to work on ensuring that MCSG is representative of the whole student body to the best of our ability,” Hayward said.

The LB then heard updates from members of the Executive Board. Academic Affairs Committee Chair Natalie Luo ’20 announced that the application form for the GSAT program, allowing students to apply for $100 grants to cover the cost of graduate school entrance exams, will open on Oct. 11.

Student Organization Committee Chair Camden Moser ’20 announced that the deadline for submitting an application to form a new student organization is Friday, Oct. 11.

The LB then discussed how best to ensure that all representatives of the body feel comfortable participating at meetings. They discussed tracking how often each person speaks, breaking into smaller groups to discuss certain topics and being more flexible with their agenda.

Larsen led a discussion on disability highlighting the importance of continuing the conversation about disability at Macalester. At one point, he asked everyone to raise a hand if they or someone they knew had a relationship with disability or struggled with their mental health; nearly every person in the room raised their hand.

“You see what I mean,” Larsen said, “We all know someone or we deal with it ourselves, and yet it’s not talked about.”

This week’s meeting was the first for Josh Groven ’23, who won a runoff election to serve as a first year class representative

“I enjoyed the sense of camaraderie,” Groven said. “Everyone seemed like they genuinely wanted to move towards something together.”

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