MCSG Overseer: After illegitimate election, LB approves new code

Oliver Soglin, Staff Writer

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This week’s MCSG meeting began with an update from MCSG President Blair Cha ’20. Cha informed the Legislative Body (LB) that Athletic Director Donnie Brooks approached her about starting a new campus committee focusing on bridging the gap between athletes and non-athletes on campus, addressing sexual violence issues and discussing the environment of athletics in general.

The LB then heard two proposals to charter student organizations on campus. The first, Students Demand Action (SDA), is hoping to transition from being an interest group to a full organization so they can access funding. The second, Macalester Quidditch, aims to eventually establish Quidditch as a club sport on campus.

Both organizations will be voted on at next week’s meeting pending minor revisions to their charters.

The LB then discussed and voted to approve the revised election code. The only concerns raised were about issues with the code’s new balloting method, a service called Qualtrics which the college already uses to survey students. According to some members of the LB, several technical issues had emerged during testing.

However, the LB chose to move ahead and approve the new election code. The new code passed with 22 votes in favor and one abstention.

MCSG Vice President and Student Services and Relations Committee Chair Fatiya Kedir ’21 then opened discussion on the Media Outreach and Communication Bill 2019, which seeks to establish an MCSG position to focus on outreach to students and assist student organizations with their public relations needs.

The LB discussed whether to create the new position, and whether that position should be elected by the student body or appointed by staff.

MCSG Chief of Staff Precious Dlamini ’21 voiced support for merging the proposed position with the existing chief of staff position.

“Right now I have approximately three hours of office hours time which I tend not to do anything with because generally no one comes,” Dlamini said. “That’s time I could use.”

Kedir plans to bring a revised bill to the LB at a future meeting.

The LB then considered Dean of Students DeMethra LaSha Bradley’s nominees to the Judicial Council: Sadia Mohammed ’21, Denise Rodriguez ’20, and Jim Smith ’21. Mohammed and Smith served on the council for the 2018-2019 year, and Rodriguez served on it during the 2017-2018 year.

The LB is constitutionally required to approve nominees before they can serve, but several members, including first-year representative Rebecca Gentry ’23, objected to the process.

“What are the qualifications we should be looking for for a judicial council member?” Gentry said, “Are there qualifications we should look for or just bodies?”

Several members suggested asking the nominees to submit a written statement on why they wanted to serve or bringing them before the LB for a confirmation hearing.

Speaker Em Hayward ’21 argued that the LB should trust Bradley’s judgement in making the nominations.

“The information that DeMethra used to nominate these people is beyond what they would write for us,” Hayward said. “[It] comes from extensive knowledge of these individuals… she has a lot of knowledge about the student body and I think it’s incredibly important that we keep that in mind.”

Associate Dean of Students Andrew Wells also also pushed back against the idea of a confirmation hearing.

“If the credit associated with the Dean of Students’ nomination is not enough for you to make a yes or no vote, then I think then the question is: what additional information do you need?” Wells said. “Are you gonna be asking them about their extracurricular involvement, their values as human beings, their majors, their gender pronouns? I mean I don’t know what additional information you’d be looking for.”

First-year rep. Shosuke Noma ’23 responded to Wells’ comments, suggesting that there is no point in voting if the value of the Dean’s nomination was so great.

“If the nomination has enough credit to approve them, in that case, I feel like we shouldn’t be having a vote,” Noma said, “It would be very superficial to just vote because there was a nomination.”

Gentry also questioned whether or not they should hold a vote, though from a different perspective.

“Personally I think there’s something to be said for separating the branches of government,” Gentry said. “I think, as students, dealing with fellow students it could be a potential conflict of interest.”

Wells pointed out that the LB is constitutionally required to vote on the nominations.

The nominations were approved by a vote of 16 to three. Three abstained.

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