LB discusses election and student resources

LB discusses election and student resources

Estelle Timar-Wilcox, Editor-in-Chief

Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) met on Tuesday to update members on the postponed executive board elections and hear from Walter Goodwin, Macalester’s new assistant director for student support. 

Elections for next year’s MCSG president, vice president and committee chairs were scheduled to start last Thursday, Feb. 8, but the Election Procedures Commission delayed the election until Monday, stating in an email to the student body that the group was investigating candidates’ violations of MCSG’s election code. 

The Legislative Body (LB) did not discuss the election code violation claims in detail. MCSG’s advisor Andy Williams invited members to come to the executive board’s meeting this Sunday afternoon, where the current executive board will discuss this election and efforts to improve elections in the future. 

Community Engagement Officer Ayana Smith-Kooiman ’22 suggested that MCSG create a one-page brief on the election code for candidates and interested students. 

MCSG President Shreya Nagdev ’22 expressed frustration with how the election unfolded. 

“It’s on everyone to be doing better,” Nagdev said. “Everyone in this Zoom call, everyone in the Mac community, needs to be doing better… it’s not just about reading the election code, it’s about compassion.” 

Apart from discussing the election, Goodwin joined the LB to introduce himself and explain his role at Macalester. His position is new to Macalester; Goodwin came to the college this semester as an addition to the Student Affairs office. 

Goodwin’s position is meant to serve as a point of contact in Student Affairs that can help students navigate their options for support. The student support position will work across various departments, including the Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness, Disability Services and Residential Life. He told MCSG that he will have a caseload of students who he will work with regularly. 

Goodwin moved to Macalester from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, where he worked in a similar student support position. 

“My desire was always to go back into a smaller liberal arts college,” Goodwin said. “I enjoyed my time at the University of Minnesota…  but sometimes [at large institutions] students can get just lost in the fray of things. And I refuse to look at students as just another number or an ID number. 

“I like that personal connection with the students, and I think that’s something that typically you can find at smaller institutions.” 

Goodwin said he hopes to meet regularly with more students and student organizations as he gets to know the campus.

“I don’t want to just come in for issues or concerns or things like that, but be a consistent face at the meetings — to build a relationship not only with the committees and the orgs as a whole, but also individuals that represent those various organizations,” Goodwin said. 

He invited MCSG members to come visit his office in Kagin, and to pass on the word to other students that he is available as a resource. 

The LB also heard from Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC) member Anna Sène ’24 and Grace McDonough ’24, who brought up the issue of menstrual product availability on campus. McDonough noted that many bathrooms on campus don’t have products available in the dispensers. 

“This is also something that I’ve been asked about in my capacity as a [residential assistant],” McDonough said. “Students have asked me where menstrual products are available on campus and I never feel like I can give them an honest answer.”

McDonough asked MCSG to review and increase the availability of products, communicate to students about where products are available and start a system that students can use to report when products have run out. Sène added that products should be added to residence hall bathrooms as well. 

MCSG previously worked on this program. The SSRC started a pilot program to provide free menstrual products in a few spots on campus in 2019. After that pilot program, the program was passed on to the sustainability office. 

The pilot program was funded through the Community Chest, a pot of money MCSG allocates for student projects that benefit the campus. 

LB members discussed how to launch this program sustainably and ensure that it has funding in the future. Nagdev suggested creating a renewing Community Chest expense; Sène floated the idea of pitching it in the strategic planning process. 

The meeting closed out with announcements and funding updates from the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC). The LB approved funding for Mac West Coast Swing to attend a convention. 

Elections for the executive board closed on Thursday, Feb. 17; results will be announced next week. 

[email protected]