Legislative Body follows up on last week’s student protest

Legislative Body follows up on last week’s student protest

Antonio Barreras, Staff Writer

​​The Legislative Body (LB) meeting on Tuesday night devoted time to reflect on the sit-in that took place on Nov. 3. The space also served as a way for MCSG members to come up with ways to better serve student needs. 

MCSG President Shreya Nagdev ’22 opened the floor and encouraged everyone to speak about what they were feeling and the potential role that MCSG could play in addressing the concerns students raised at the sit-in. 

She also highlighted that the events affected people in different ways, and that members have to be mindful and open to people’s different experiences.

First-year representative Nibia Becera Santillan ’25 shared the experiences of international students like herself who have been the target of racist comments by professors. 

Becera Santillan mentioned that although certain professors have recognized the sit-in and what it represents, they continue making explicitly discriminatory comments. She asked if there were any mechanisms in place that could hold people in positions of power at Macalester accountable for their actions.

Community Engagement Officer Ayana Smith-Kooiman* ’22 said that there is a form that students can submit to report instances of discrimination. The form is in the student handbook and reports are seen by the Department of Multicultural Life and later the Title IX office. She agreed, however, that many of these resources are hard to access and that there needs to be a better way to document and follow up on these events.

Various MCSG committees proceeded to highlight the work they are doing to ensure that college resources are more accessible to students. Student Services and Relations Committee member Amber Sofge ’22 mentioned that her committee is working on a handbook that could help students navigate discrimination in the classroom. 

Other members brought up questions of the roles that MCSG should play going forward. Sustainability Officer Kashvi Ajitsaria ’22 highlighted the complicated position in which members of MCSG find themselves.

“I think it is interesting where we fall as student government,” Ajitsaria said. “We are sort of in the middle. So I think it is worth asking, how do we authentically and genuinely understand how students are responding to things, [and] at the same time, listening to administration members and demanding accountability?”

Smith-Kooiman echoed many of Ajitsaria’s concerns. She added that it was important to consider the positionality of students and that understanding the complexity and nuance of different situations will help create a stronger and more united community.

Nagdev emphasized that this was not the last time that MCSG was going to talk about the events that have been transpiring around campus. 

“This is the first of conversations we are having,” Nagdev said. “This is not ending [here].”

MCSG also voted on the charters of three different student organizations: PreVet Club, Writing Club and Mac Open Mic Club. 

All three charters were approved.

Members of MCSG also voted to send out the first bi-weekly newsletter to students. The newsletter will contain general information on what MCSG is doing. It also seeks to clarify information on important topics related to the college. This week’s newsletter will talk about the college’s endowment funds.

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