MCSG talks faculty-student dynamics and starts new committee for food insecurity at Mac

MCSG talks faculty-student dynamics and starts new committee for food insecurity at Mac

Libby Sykes, Staff Writer

At Tuesday night’s meeting of MCSG, the Legislative Body (LB) debated professors’ past responses to students’ concerns of racism and bias during class and passed two additional allocation requests for itself and Macalester’s Chinese Culture Club. The LB also voted to create a new ad-hoc committee to address food insecurity at Café Mac under Bon Appétit. 

The MCSG meeting opened with a land acknowledgement given by speaker of the LB Jordanella Maluka Chagiye Mpoyo ’23, after which the members of the LB introduced themselves and talked about their fall retreat scheduled for later in the month. MCSG PresidentShreya Nagdev’22 announced that MCSG debates for candidates will be held Sept. 27. 

Mpoyo started the scheduled discussion on interactions between professors and students in the classroom, due to a recent incident in which a student walked out of class after a professor made a comment that the student believed to be biased. 

“[The professor] clearly didn’t think about what that student would feel about it,” said Mpoyo. 

The LB then discussed bias discrimination and identity politics and how this plays into class discussions. Nagdev offered that white students should be active bystanders and tell the faculty member when their comments have negative effects on BIPOC and marginalized students. 

The LB moved into a discussion on the definition of academic freedom, and how far professors are allowed to push those boundaries. LB members stressed the importance of combating incidents of racism in the classroom immediately after they take place and utilizing the bias response team that Macalester has on campus.

The LB passed two requests for additional funds from student organizations. The Chinese Culture Club requested $764.55 to purchase mooncakes for an event later in the semester. MCSG requested $468.48 for breakfast and lunch at its annual retreat set for Sept. 26. The LB discussed how student organizations can contact MCSG to request additional funds, which orgs can do through the platform Presence. 

The board also discussed food insecurity at Macalester over the last year and how Cafe Mac has exacerbated the situation in recent weeks as it faces shortages brought on by the pandemic. The LB talked about the lack of variety, restricted meal periods, scarcity of takeout containers, overcapacity and COVID-19 risk in Cafe Mac. 

The LB voted to form a new ad-hoc committee that will talk to the Macalester administration about required meal plan contracts and the college’s contract with Bon Appetit. 

The LB also discussed the new textbook reserve model that the school is considering implementing in the next academic year. The new program aims to make the cost of textbooks more equitable by charging all students a set fee in their tuition and providing class materials instead of asking students to pay for materials out of pocket. Based on the estimated cost of the program, the LB discussed the possibility that it could create a disadvantage for low-income students.

The meeting wrapped up with ideas to recruit first years and reminders regarding applications to campus committees.

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