Kedir, Green elected President and Vice President for 2020-21

Estelle Timar-Wilcox, Associate News Editor

After a tumultuous week of delayed elections for the 2020-21 Executive Board and several other positions, MCSG announced the results of the votes on Wednesday. MCSG Vice President and Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) Fatiya Kedir ’21 won the presidential election with 86.96 percent of the vote; Diversity and Inclusion Officer Robert Green ’23 won the vice presidential election with 63.36 percent of the vote.

After Joe Bentley ’21 dropped out of the presidential race following allegations in an anonymous Instagram post, Kedir was left as the only candidate for president. Kedir has held various MCSG positions since her first year.

“I was really thankful and excited [about the results]… for me to finally have this direct impact on the campus meant the world,” Kedir said.

The announcement of election results brought a welcome relief from the tension of the election week for Kedir, too.

“I did feel this hurt in how this election has played out, not just specifically because of the post but because of the outcome of that and who was hurt,” Kedir said.

“I think it’s important to note that a lot of the topics that were brought up are important,” she continued. “It sucks that it was brought up in this way.”

As president, Kedir plans to continue addressing food insecurity on campus through the Open Pantry, which she helped expand this year. Kedir noted her personal connection to food insecurity — her personal history as a refugee, growing up in a poorer area of Minneapolis and coming to the wealthier Macalester neighborhood for college.

“I’m so thankful that I was able to impact that in some ways as [vice president], I definitely want to continue to progress,” Kedir said.

Kedir also campaigned on a goal of centralizing campus information in an app to make information about campus services and resources more accessible. She emphasized the importance of access to mental health resources on campus, too. This, she said, was emphasized to her last week during the election challenges and Bentley’s subsequent withdrawal. 

“That was something that I’ve always been really interested and passionate about, but having conversations with Joe [Bentley] and Robert [Green] among other people really solidified that passion,” Kedir said.

Despite dropping out, Bentley still received 62 write-in votes (9.86 percent) for president.

Green, who was also alluded to in the anonymous Instagram post, remained in the race for vice president. Green was not challenged by any official candidates.

In an email to The Mac Weekly, Green emphasized his commitment to working on equity and diversity on campus.

“I desire to pioneer an inclusive and safe campus for all students at Macalester College,” Green wrote “I am committed to improving the sense of belonging felt by disadvantaged students to ensure they can fully engage on campus.”

Green echoed several of Kedir’s goals, including centralizing resources and supporting student leaders on campus.

“My first steps would be to assess the successes and challenges of passion projects conducted by the SSRC and the Executive Board, and develop a plan to support those projects,” Green wrote. “I want to create a space where MCSG can directly organize and mobilize students on campus that turns into tangible changes on campus.”

His only opposition came from Diana Paz ’21, who joined MCSG this semester as the chief of staff. Paz launched a write-in campaign on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 16, just a day before the elections were originally scheduled to begin, and won 29.72 percent of the votes for vice president.

Paz said that since joining MCSG this semester, she realized the opportunity that holding an Executive Board position could offer her.

“As I’m about to leave, I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much,” Paz said.

Paz was not planning on running for a position; while she saw an opportunity, she believed that those who were running would do good work. Paz launched her campaign after learning of the accusations against Green the week before the elections.

“I knew that my chances of winning were slim, but I thought it was meaningful and important to have somebody else running,” Paz said.

Although she did know about the allegations related to the vice presidential race, she was not aware of the ones related to the presidential race. The Instagram post came as a surprise to Paz, too.

Although she will not be the vice president next year, Paz is considering running for other positions and plans to continue her involvement on campus. This semester, she hopes to keep MCSG running smoothly as the chief of staff.

“I had no expectations, but I’m very grateful… of course I wanted to believe that I could win, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that 159 people voted for me,” Paz said. “I wish to [bid] Fatiya and Robert the best for their roles.”

The next round of elections in March will determine class representatives and issue-based officers.

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