MCSG overseer: MCSG continues winter housing discussion

MCSG overseer: MCSG continues winter housing discussion

Maddie Heinz, Associate News Editor

Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) met in Weyerhaeuser for their weekly meeting on Nov. 1. The Legislative Board (LB) dedicated most of the meeting to a follow-up on the issue-based work MCSG started last week. As they did the previous week, members split into two groups, one discussing future MCSG events and another with updates on the status of student housing over winter break.

Unlike last year and the year before, Residential Life cannot provide housing to students this winter break. The housing provided over break in previous years was a response to COVID-19 regulations and complications that made it difficult for students, particularly international students, to travel home over break. Now, funding is not available to house students.

Diversity and Inclusion Officer Ghaicha Aboubar Ahe ’24, junior representative Emma Kopplin ’24 and MCSG President Bobbie Pennington ’24 met with Executive Director for Residential Life Kyle Flowers and Dean of Students Kathryn Kay Coquemont this week to discuss the issue. While they were able to gain more information surrounding student housing over the winter, Residential Life could not offer a solution.

There are also safety concerns that make housing students over winter break infeasible for this year. As previously stated, the college does not have the money to rent out hotel rooms for students, which was an option the past two years. Residences that were open the last two years, like Summit House, now have students occupying them. Additionally, Macalester does not have the staff of Residence Hall Directors and Resident Assistants to supervise students who might want to stay in the dorms over winter break. 

However, students are still frustrated with the lack of options provided this year.

“[Residential Life] is thinking really thoughtfully about this, and I think they’re going to come up with a good solution for the 2023-2024 winter,” Pennington said. “But this year, they’ve left it all up to International Student Programs (ISP) … and I think it’s really difficult to leave it all on ISP.”

MCSG as an organization lacks the power to house students themselves but spent time navigating their options as a student body. 

“Sometimes the best way to get immediate change at this school is when the whole student body knows that something is a problem,” senior representative Emmanuel Keppel ’23 said. “I think a lot of people don’t know that this is happening … Maybe an MCSG resolution is an option.”

The other issue-based group discussed future MCSG-sponsored events, including class night celebrations and a party in Kagin Ballroom later this semester.

Student Organizations Committee Chair Kalid Ali ’25 introduced two charters for new student organizations: Moot Court and Young Democratic Socialists of America. Both charters passed. No new charters will be approved for the rest of the semester, but potential student orgs can submit a charter in the spring. 

Finally, MCSG took time to discuss the ongoing vice presidential election. Voting closed this Friday. Only one student, sophomore class representative Mathilda Barr ’25, was on the ballot, but students were allowed to write in candidates.

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