MCSG discusses mental health campaigns and economic transparency

MCSG discusses mental health campaigns and economic transparency

Maddie Heinz, Staff Writer

Tuesday night’s Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) meeting devoted time to discussing how MCSG can support the student body and make positive structural changes. Guest speakers and staff also stressed the importance of student participation as the school begins crucial conversations about Macalester’s future.

Liz Schneider-Bateman, director of counseling, and Jen Jacobson, director of health promotion and sexual respect, joined the Legislative Board (LB) to discuss Macalester’s JED mental health campaign. The JED program was first launched at Macalester in 2019, and for the next two years Macalester has conducted research and surveys into the student body’s mental health. Now, the campaign is ready to launch a strategic plan (not related to the school’s overall strategic plan) to better the mental health of students on campus. 

Schneider-Bateman and Jacobson then turned the conversation over to the LB, asking where MCSG could help implement the ongoing JED campaign. While MCSG did make suggestions about where they could improve student mental health, they also pointed out the responsibility of faculty and administration. 

“Faculty and professors aren’t as considerate about … whatever is keeping [students] from doing as well in school,” sophomore representative Kaleb Getu-Gezahegn ’24 said. “I feel like I’m always expected to explain myself, to tell them the full story. Having that pressure is uncomfortable.”

Overall, students and staff agreed that the promotion and provision of resources was an important step. 

“Part of that increasing help-seeking behavior is helping students understand that seeking resources… is really a sign of strength and maturity, and not a sign of weakness,” Jacobson said. “Even your best professors are [asking for help].” 

Associate Dean for Campus Life Andrew Wells joined MCSG to speak about Macalester’s strategic plan, which is being crafted this year and will be implemented next October. It will serve as a guideline for Macalester’s decision making for the next five to ten years. Wells invited students to attend the kickoff events on Nov. 19, especially the event dedicated for students to share their voices. The session is at 2:30 pm in the Leonard Center Fieldhouse.

“Come and see how you, personally, as students in our community, can make yourselves heard,” Wells said. “All of the priorities that I know you hold as students are going to be connected directly to the strategic plan.”

MCSG then voted on whether to add a new anti-discrimination clause to the election code. If a member of MCSG discriminates against someone in a “protected class,” anyone may file a complaint with the MCSG Judicial Council. However, President Shreya Nagdev ‘22 noted that this would not guarantee that the offender would be kicked out of MCSG or removed from the ballot. Nagdev directed any student who believes an MCSG member deserves to be kicked out to Article 12 of the election code, which allows students to call for a recall vote. At least 15% of the entire voting population must approve a recall election. The clause was approved by unanimous vote.

Community Engagement Officer Ayana Smith-Kooiman* ’22 proposed an MCSG newsletter and updated the LB on her meeting with Provost Lisa Anderson-Levy, in which Anderson-Levy discussed the need for the student body to understand how colleges work financially. The conversation will continue next week. 

Sustainability Officer Kashvi Ajitsara ’22 announced a meeting with Gary Martin, Macalester’s chief investment officer, to discuss financial transparency and Macalester’s endowment. The meeting is scheduled for Nov. 23, and all students are encouraged to attend.

Lastly, Nagdev announced that Roon Mahboub ’22 has resigned as diversity officer. A special election will be held to find a replacement before the end of the semester.


*Ayana Smith-Kooiman is a Web Editor for The Mac Weekly.


[email protected]