MCSG discusses potential new web series, upcoming elections, recent bias incident

MCSG discusses potential new web series, upcoming elections, recent bias incident

Elizabeth Ekstrand, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday night, Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) held its second meeting of the spring semester via Zoom. It plans to resume in-person Legislative Body (LB) meetings starting next week.

MCSG President Shreya Nagdev ’22, who serves in an advisory group with President Suzanne Rivera, introduced the idea of a new online video series starring the president and pre-selected students. Individual videos would address topics that frequently confuse Macalester students, such as pass/fail grading or leaves of absence.

Nagdev sent LB members into breakout rooms to brainstorm other video topic ideas, then encouraged each breakout group to summarize their discussion.

Student Organizations Committee (SOC) member Linden Kronberg ’22 said that his breakout group emphasized the need for clearer information about housing. Kronberg said that some students may need help adjusting to dorm living and could find clarity through the video series.

Kronberg added that many upperclassmen have similar difficulties with the transition to off-campus housing. 

“You’ll find off-campus housing through Facebook groups, and it helps to know people who are upperclassmen, but not everyone has those connections,” Kronberg said. 

Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) member Joel Sadofsky ’25 suggested topics such as accessing the Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness, disciplinary and absence policies and the name change process for transgender and non-binary students. 

Student Organizations Committee Chair Katie McCarthy ’22 wrapped up the video series discussion by calling for more transparency regarding the many student support services Macalester offers.

“They’re not as accessible as the departments might think,” McCarthy said.

Nagdev promised to share the suggestions with President Rivera and work toward launching the video series.

After a short break, Nagdev reminded members of the upcoming elections for the 2022-23 Executive Board. Some Executive Board races currently have few candidates or are uncontested, which Nagdev would like to see change before the Thursday Feb. 3 midnight filing deadline.

In later announcements, Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) member Jonah Wexler ’23* and Sadofsky both acknowledged a recent bias incident on campus. Last week, an individual posted flyers containing homophobic, transphobic and anti-semitic rhetoric in public places such as the library and Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center.

According to Macalester Public Safety, the individual responsible was not a part of the campus community, and the act was religiously motivated. Regardless of the perpetrator’s outsider status, LB members emphasized the harm done to members of the campus community.

Sadofsky, who contacted Public Safety about these flyers, asked members to promptly report future bias incidents.

“If you see stuff like that, even if it’s the more innocuous stuff, it’s still likely connected to the really bad stuff,” Sadofsky said. “So report that to Public Safety, and also file a bias and harassment complaint because it’s really good when we have that documented.” 

Academic Affairs Committee member and LB Speaker Mariah Loeffler-Kemp ’24 asked Nagdev to add responses to bias incidents as a potential topic for the video series.

As the meeting came to a close, Community Engagement Officer Ayana Smith-Kooiman ’22 updated members on her work with LeadMN and Minnesota Association of Private College Students (MAPCS), both of which connect college students across the state through various initiatives. 

Smith-Kooiman said she was working with the Open Pantry, a resource for food-insecure students, to determine whether Macalester could be designated a “Hunger-Free Campus.” Smith-Kooiman also encouraged students to reach out to her if they wanted to be part of a voting coalition at Macalester, citing the robust nature of campus voter registration efforts in the past.

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*Jonah Wexler is an opinion editor at The Mac Weekly