MCSG passes student org budget for 2021 and student bereavement policy recommendations

MCSG passes student org budget for 2021 and student bereavement policy recommendations

Libby Sykes, Staff Writer

On Tuesday April 6, the Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) passed the Financial Affairs Committee’s (FAC) annual budget review for student organizations for the 2021-2022 school year. MCSG also passed the Academic Affairs Committee’s (AAC) new bereavement policy recommendations for the Educational Policy and Governance Committee (EPAG). Both motions passed unanimously, with 18 votes in favor and no abstentions. 

FAC’s Budget Bonanza allocated a total budget of $132,000 to Macalester student organizations for the next academic year, pulling primarily from the operating fund — funding for student organizations that will last four years or less — as well as the capital fund, which allocates money to long term organization investments. There was an additional $90,000 in the operating and capital fund for the next academic year due to reduced spending from COVID-19 cancelations. 

All student organizations will also have access to $200 from the Flexi Fund. 

Last week, MCSG heard from student organizations requesting over $4000. Student organizations allocated over $4,000 were the Black Liberation Affairs Committee (BLAC), Climbing Club, High Power Rocketry Club, MacBike, MCSG, Macalester First Aid, MacSlams, Outing Club and Proud Indigenous People for Education (PIPE). 

“We have been working on this all semester,” FAC Chair Hannah Gilbert ’21 said. “Organizations submitted their draft budgets, met with liaisons and submitted their finalized budgets through Presence. The FAC spent a weekend going through and voting on all those budgets.”

Before the FAC receives money to administer to student organizations annually, money is

distributed to off-the-top expenses, which pre-approves larger budgetary needs for student resources that were not requested by individual student organizations through the operating fund. The FAC’s off-the-top expenses were $155,000 for 2021. The largest expenses were from the Program Board (PB), the Wallace International Travel Grant, The Mac Weekly printing costs and the WMCN engineering salary. Off-the-top expenses also go to the Textbook Reserve Fund, Community Chest Fund and students’ New York Times subscriptions. 

Gilbert explained that leftover funding rollover in student organization accounts from this year will get taken back into the main MCSG account where it will be reallocated to student funds in the upcoming academic year based on the MCSG financial code. She explained that student organizations have not had as much opportunity to be involved in 2020-2021 because of COVID-19.

“There will be lots of money for additional allocations,” Gilbert said. “We did have fewer orgs requesting annual budgets this year than in past years. We’re anticipating that there probably will be some of those larger orgs requesting significant amounts of funding next year.”

After passing the budget recommendation, MCSG chartered the new student organization, Cooking and Eating Club (CEAC@Mac), with 17 votes in favor and one abstention after hearing from its founder Sanan Engel ’24. 

MCSG then passed the motion to recommend a bereavement policy to EPAG. The policy recommends that classes be optional the day of and following a student death with no make-up coursework or assignment deadlines within a two-day grace period. Tests should be postponed for at least two days. The recommendation also specifies that faculty and staff should inform students of the ‘Incomplete’ grading option in case the student is grieving and having trouble with schoolwork. 

“Without this policy in place specifically, there is the risk that many students’ mental well-being and academic performance will decline in these circumstances due to the lack of an explicit academic policy,” the policy reads.

EPAG’s chair and physics professor James Heyman will be scheduling the passed MCSG bereavement recommendations for EPAG meeting discussion in the upcoming week. 

“This is the first [policy recommendation] on the student side this year,” EPAG student representative and AAC chair Kareem Greaney ‘21 said. “I can’t tell you how the conversation is going to go.”

MCSG president Fatiya Kedir ’21 announced the newly opened applications of MCSG’s campus committees and encouraged representatives and students outside of MCSG to apply. The application is closing Thursday April 15. MCSG election results for officers and class representatives came out Wednesday over email. 

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