On Tuesday, March 29, the Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) met on Zoom and focused on providing updates from several different student groups and committees.
The meeting began with a summary of the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) Budget Bonanza with a presentation from FAC Chair Rebecca Gentry ’23. Gentry said the FAC received applications from 48 student organizations and the FAC approved $127,798.26 for the orgs of the $197,100.90 requested. The $127,798.26 dispersed by the FAC included $118,691.77 from the operating budget.
Funds were denied for non-students and for events that were not open to all students. The orgs can appeal for more money at the next Legislative Body (LB) meeting on Tuesday, April 5. However, Gentry said in order to preserve additional allocation funding of around $30,000 for next year, the LB can only approve around $1,000 in appeals. Orgs will still be able to receive additional funds from partnerships with other on-campus departments, the block budgeting model and additional allocations.
Next, senior representative and Macalester Fund Class Agent Amber Sofge ’22 helped lead a discussion about the upcoming Give to Macalester Days held for the first time in two years. Pay It Forward Fellow Josh Stephenson ’21 said students should donate on Thursday, March 31 to have their $5 student donations become $105 with backing from a fund up to $25,000 sponsored by the board of trustees.
Following the discussion of Give to Macalester Days, the Macalester Birding Club was chartered with a unanimous vote after a brief presentation by Marty Stoner ’25 and Daniel Whitman ’24. It will now be the only student org focused on bird-watching and exploring the local natural environment.
Then, MCSG President Shreya Nagdev ’22 presented a new proposal from the Educational Policy and Governance Committee (EPAG) to change registration times from being based on credits to being based on graduation date starting next fall at the earliest. This would essentially eliminate the benefits from AP and IB credits, at least for registration.
Some members of the LB raised concerns about how this might affect students attempting to graduate early relying on these credits. They worried that these students might not be able to get into the classes they need for graduation, particularly courses that require a specific class year standing or prerequisite classes. Another concern was raised about how the change could affect transfer students and students with credits from other institutions. While credits can be transferred in, students will not be able to use community college credits completed while in high school.
The LB asked for a guest from EPAG to bring the proposal to the LB for more discussion.
After a quick break, the LB looked forward to the upcoming elections and unanimously approved a short election code one-pager, prepared by an ad-hoc committee. The one-pager lays out all of the basic information from the election code with hopes of ensuring that the student body has the basic information necessary for elections and the campaign period.
Junior class representative Jonah Wexler ’23* then provided an update that IfNotNow and several MCSG members could not meet with administration, as previously planned. While the meeting had been scheduled three months prior for March 28, it was canceled that morning, creating frustration for many of the activists.
“[The delay and then cancellation] shows the school doesn’t value students who aren’t white Christians,” Wexler said.
The student activists had hoped to meet the new administrators and to discuss the new Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) definition of antisemitism adopted by the LB in December, the antisemitic posters found in the library and the lack of institutional support.
As of the LB meeting on Tuesday evening, the students hadn’t received an email response to their request to reschedule, however by the time The Mac Weekly went to print on Wednesday, March 30, the activists had received a response from administrators redirecting them towards Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Alina Wong. They expressed a willingness to meet in the future.
Community Engagement Officer (CEO) Smith-Kooiman then led a discussion with breakout groups about the direction of MCSGgoing forward and creating orientation materials for future LB members. After, there were committee updates from the SOC about the James C. Hoppe Org Advisor of the Year selection process and the org transition process that opened on March 30.
To close the meeting, there were also updates on the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) Student Educator of the Year and the Educator of the Year award.
*Jonah Wexler is an opinion editor for The Mac Weekly.