The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

MCSG Talks Institutional Equity with senior staff

MCSG Talks Institutional Equity with senior staff

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) met to discuss current and upcoming changes with institutional equity faculty, go over student feedback from the first half of the semester and plan for the rest of the fall semester.  

MCSG president Mariah Loeffler Kemp ’24 introduced four faculty members to discuss institutional equity — Vice President for Institutional Equity Dr. Alina Wong, Dean of Institutional Equity Minerva Muñoz, Title IX Coordinator Laura Creech and Associate Dean for Institutional Equity Kelly Stone. 

“Our equity leadership team is here thinking about how the practices that we have on campus help us move towards equity,” Creech said. 

Representatives then posed questions to the panel discussing the strategic plan, Cultural House and all-gender housing model. 

Senior representative Ellen Patrickson ’24 started the conversation by asking the panel about the strategic plan’s effects on equity. 

“Because we have three C’s — campus, culture and curriculum — we wanted to make sure that social responsibility and social justice work showed up in all three of those areas, Wong said. 

Patrickson also inquired about the status of the Cultural House. 

“The [Cultural House] is going to be taken down to give space for some geothermal projects, the [new] residence hall and some other institutional needs,” Wong said. “The history of it is vital to the history and culture community at Macalester, so we are looking at how we bring that programming space and that kitchen space and move it to another part of the campus … We are determined to stop moving it around as a matter of convenience for the institution. We want to give it a good home and an accessible home.” 

As the strategic plan conversation continued, the panelists addressed concerns about accessibility throughout campus.

“How can we increase access in various ways?” Wong asked. “[We’re] also thinking about intersectionality, so that it’s not only about racial identities, gender identity, sexuality, [but] also about ability, religion, citizenship and nationality.” 

Questions arose about the status of the chapel and its lack of accessibility, such as the absence of an elevator. 

“Concrete decisions about [religious and spiritual facilities] haven’t been made, and it’s just a conceptual idea right now,” Stone explained. “About six years ago, we did a space study to see what was possible, and it’s a little complicated. There are a lot of load-bearing walls for those of you that are architecturally inclined. It’ll have a next chapter of its life and we’re starting to think about what that’ll be.” 

Finally, the Residential Life & Dining Liaison Philomena Shuffleton-Sobe ’26 asked the panel about any feedback they have received regarding the newly implemented all-gender housing model.

“My sense from our conversations with Residential Life is that people have found safe places that feel affirming of their identities and where they are able to access the resources they need,” Stone said. “As we’re moving through things, we are thinking about how we can, not create a space for everybody, but use a more universal design and say what are the needs that one change might allow us to accomplish.”

The meeting  then chartered new organizations, beginning with a proposal from Girls Who Code.

Girls Who Code used to have a presence on campus, but became inactive due to lack of engagement. The club is open to all non-men who are interested in tech and is planning to hold events and lectures open to the entire student body. MCSG unanimously chartered Girls Who Code.

Be the Match — a national organization for bone marrow donation — also presented, explaining the registry for donation and research opportunities associated with the organization. Be the Match at Macalester was also chartered unanimously.

Committee and cabinet chairs presented quick updates from the previous week and talked briefly about upcoming events.

Loeffler-Kemp relayed feedback from the town hall event and MCSG’s recent Legislaytion week. Topics ranged from equal institutional support for humanities and sciences, how to better advertise events and the study away grading system.

The Legislative Body (LB) then broke into working groups to hypothesize ways to ensure collaboration between cabinet liaisons and working groups. 

Finally, Loeffler-Kemp reminded the LB that the first week of the spring semester is “welcome back” week. Class representatives are in charge of planning a class night for their respective years, each of which will be held on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024.


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