LB Charters Democracy Matters, Considers Accessibility of Student Resources

LB Charters Democracy Matters, Considers Accessibility of Student Resources

Oliver Soglin, Staff Writer

On Jan. 26 the Legislative Body (LB) met for the first time since the start of the spring semester. The LB began by hearing from Dean of Career Exploration Mindy Deardurff and Director of Academic Internships Michael Porter. 

Deardurff began by outlining Career Exploration’s major goals over the past nine months, which were to maximize job and internship opportunities, especially for those unable to find jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and transfer their usual programming online. Deardurff then opened the floor open for LB members to share input and experiences.

LB members pointed out the difficulty of navigating different resources like Career Exploration and the MAX Center, and uncertainty about where students of each class should be in the process of applying for jobs and internships. Senior Class Representative Diana Paz Garcia ’21 noted the sense of panic many seniors are experiencing.

“I know a lot of seniors who are freaking out, and I include myself,” Paz said. “What do you say to a freaking out senior who bursts into your office?” 

Deardurff strongly encouraged students to reach out to Career Exploration.

“It’s gonna be O.K. It really is,” Deardurff said. “I’ve worked in career services through multiple recessions. It’s gonna be O.K., but we can’t help you if you don’t come in and see us.”

The LB then voted on the charter for a new student organization, Democracy Matters, which seeks to encourage students to vote and engage in political processes. The LB approved the charter unanimously. 

Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) Chair Hannah Gilbert ’21 then presented requests for additional allocations for the Black Liberation Affairs Committee (BLAC) and for Mac Slams. Both requests had been approved by the FAC, but required approval by the full LB as they were greater than $2,000. BLAC requested $3,000 to pay a local poet to appear at a Black History Month event and Mac Slams requested $2,200 to pay coaches. The LB approved both requests unanimously.

The LB then split into four groups to discuss planning in different issue areas this semester. The groups addressed mental health and campus culture, communication and student engagement, resource accessibility and MCSG transparency and campus sustainability.

The mental health and campus culture groups discussed ideas such as building a Macalester-specific platform for students to share information about professors akin to Rate My Professors, and providing training to student organization leaders on mental health resources and suicide prevention. 

MCSG President Fatiya Kedir ’21 shared a note addressing current mental health resources that had been shared anonymously with the MCSG.

“I’m tired of hearing about how ‘heard’ and ‘seen’ I am,” the student wrote. “I want help for myself and everyone else.”

The LB then heard updates from different committees, several of which had not yet held their first meetings of the semester. Ayana Smith-Kooiman ’22, chair of the ad-hoc committee on social media, shared the progress the committee has made. 

The committee is revamping the MCSG Facebook and Instagram pages and posting regular updates. The Student Services and Resource Committee Twitter account is also now tweeting highlights from LB meetings (@TheMacCrier). 

[email protected]