During this week’s MCSG meeting the Legislative Body (LB) discussed anti-racism efforts at Macalester following the trial of Derek Chauvin, the shooting of Daunte Wright and the ongoing protests in Minneapolis and on campus. The LB discussed how these events have impacted them and the student body as a whole, and what an antiracist society would look like in the future.
MCSG President Fatiya Kedir ’21 led the discussion. The LB heard from Student Organization Committee (SOC) chair Briah Cooley ’21 who commissioned a survey of Black students and published it in The Mac Weekly last week. The survey was collected anonymously after the conclusion of the trial of Derek Chauvin and the deaths of Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant.
“It’s really hard to go to class when you don’t know what you’re feeling,” Cooley said. “Other students were feeling relief, like everything is over, and it’s not over.”
“I compiled those responses in that article…because I was very upset,” Cooley said. “More of the answers I got were brutally honest because they were speaking to a fellow Black student.”
Cooley took a class at Saint Catherine University this spring and said the university cancelled class all week of the trial and shooting.
“Saint Catherine’s is one of the [Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities] ACTC schools and you would expect Mac to do the same,” Cooley said.
Kedir grew up in Minneapolis and has been organizing mutual aid supplies for people of color and low-income community members on campus. Kedir said she knew Daunte Wright and that he was a close friend of her brother’s.
“I can’t explain how draining it is after learning that one of our friends has died from police brutality,” Kedir said. “The time to heal — COVID has taken a huge amount of that away.”
“I have always noticed that I’m Black,” Kedir said. ““Some people are allowed to be very imaginative in their hopes and goals. My family just wants to be safe. Macalester could be more proactive than reactive.”
Vice President and Student Services and Relations Committee Chair Shreya Nagdev ’22 also spoke out about Macalester’s response to recent events. Nagdev expressed frustration about Macalester’s decision to not enforce that classes remove deadlines. Several LB members talked about the difficulties Black first-years have had adjusting to campus life during COVID-19.
“[My] 300-level biochem class was given no deadlines,” Nagdev said. “But none of the people that actually needed [help outside of class] were there.”
“Sometimes you show up to class and you’re the only Black student,“ Cooley said. “Because of the pandemic, [freshmen] couldn’t meet other Black students.”
The LB talked about the difficulties required of students who request a leave of absence and the effect current events have had on international students. Several LB members agreed that there is a need for greater community support within the LB and throughout Macalester.
Later in the meeting, the LB voted on an additional allocation of funds to student organization Mac First Aid and reviewed the Financial Affairs Committee’s (FAC) financial code. The LB passed changes to the financial code, including the increase of leniency in the guidelines for food costs per person at events and a streamlined budgeting process for student organizations that request over $4000.
The LB ended the meeting with a discussion of the open positions from campus committee selections for the 2021-2022 school year. With fewer applications, the LB is planning another round of applications next semester.
Next week, the LB will gather for its last meeting of the 2020-2021 academic year.