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 discusses input for Board of Trustees

MCSG discusses input for Board of Trustees

 At their weekly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) discussed issues to bring up to the Board of Trustees (BoT), approved funds for Mac Swing, reviewed and voted on changes to the Financial Code and heard updates from liaisons. 

Bobbie Pennington ’24, student liaison to the BoT, asked MCSG for input on the content of the report summarizing students’ views that he will present at the BoT retreat later this month. He told MCSG that these issues should center around strategic planning and large-scale issues, as that is where the BoT can take action. 

Representatives brought up a range of what they identified as the most pressing issues facing Macalester and higher education as a whole. 

At the level of the college, Senior Class Representative Andrew Snider ’24 and Residential Life & Dining Liaison Philomena Shuffelton-Sobe ’26 asked about the plans and lack of communication surrounding the future of the Cultural House. Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) Chair Joel Sadofsky ’25, with snaps of agreement from around the room, wondered about Macalester’s new textbook policy and decision to keep up their partnership with Barnes & Noble College, as well as whether Macalester would join the growing number of liberal arts colleges requiring students to live on campus for more than two years.

At-large AAC member Tristan Niedzielski ’25 hoped to ensure that professors who refuse the new background checks policy are not subject to disciplinary action. Junior Class Representative Tor Olsson ’25 wanted to explore committing to a higher wage for Macalester’s lowest-paid employees, including Bon Appetit workers, who announced their attempt to unionize on Jan. 26. Finally, Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) Chair Eliora Hansonbrook ’25 and Student Organizations Committee (SOC) Chair Mikayla Giehler ’24 hoped that the strategic plan would support an economically diverse group of students and would include students in the strategic planning process.

As for nationwide issues, Sophomore Class Representative Alec Chen ’26 inquired about the BoT’s planned approaches to integrating and regulating artificial intelligence and to evaluating affirmative action in light of the recent Supreme Court case striking down the program.

Belonging & Accessibility Liaison Elizabeth Ekstrand ’25 wanted to hear the BoT’s perspective on free speech on college campuses. In addition, three representatives from Mac for Palestine sat in on the meeting to offer their feedback.

“One of the things that I know that a lot of people on campus are wondering right now is: is Macalester invested in companies complicit or actively profiting off the current genocide in Gaza?” one representative, who wishes to remain anonymous, said.

The other two representatives asked if there was a way for students to see a comprehensive list of Macalester’s investments, and if the college would consider divesting from any companies or private equity firms that hold investments in Israel.

In order to allow the student body to raise issues for him to bring to the BoT, Pennington, along with MCSG President Mariah Loeffler Kemp ’24 and Vice President for Student Affairs Kathryn Kay Coquemont, will be holding an event on Feb. 15 from 4:30–5:30 p.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Boardroom. In addition to receiving feedback for the BoT, the co-hosts will explain how students can provide their input to MCSG, the Senior Leadership Team (high-level Macalester administration) and the BoT. Pennington plans to update MCSG after the BoT retreat.

Earlier in the meeting, the FAC brought forth two action items. First, the student organization Mac Swing had put in two requests for funding: one for $5,000 in operating funds, and a second request for $7,658.20 in travel expenses. Sophia Esquenet ’25, a representative for Mac Swing, explained that the organization goes to a swing event in Chicago every year; this year it will be the Chicago Classic.

“It’s a really great opportunity to meet other people in the community,” she said. “We really want to make it as accessible as possible and bring as many people as we can.”

The Legislative Body (LB) voted to approve Mac Swing’s requests. Hansonbrook then detailed changes to the Financial Code that the FAC had made. In addition to updating some of the document’s language, the FAC raised orgs’ food maximums for additional allocations from $10 to $12.50 per person per event, with the exception of cultural events.

They also noted that this updated Financial Code would be in effect for all additional allocations for the 2024–25 academic year, as well as for this year’s Budget Bonanza, when next year’s budget will be created. The LB unanimously approved the changes to the Financial Code.

The meeting concluded with liaison check-ins. MCSG members sat down with various student liaisons to hear updates from last semester and plans for this one, as well as to provide feedback and ideas. Health and Wellness Liaison Emma Rohrs ’26 said that she has been working with the Hamre Center for Health and Wellness to improve the online scheduling system. She also has been working with other LB members to implement a harm reduction public health vending machine.

Macalester had a goal to be zero-waste by 2020, which they did not meet. Infrastructure and Sustainability Liaison Amanda Nogueira Moreira de Souza ’25 is working with the Sustainability Office to help them meet their zero-waste goal. Shuffleton-Sobe talked about winter housing’s success, an upcoming winter housing feedback survey and some as-of-now unofficial projects.

Last semester, Disability Resources put out a form that students can use to report accessibility issues. Ekstrand plans to make that form more easily available to students. She also wants to reestablish Embody the Change (ETC) Circles, groups of students who meet over lunch in an identity-based context.

At the Athletics & Recreation table, Liaison Jordan Galloway ’26 and MCSG members talked about balancing academics with sports practice. Galloway also gave a shout-out to the new women’s and gender-inclusive weight lifting group, which LB Speaker Reagan Kimzey ’24 is leading.

The meeting ended with Cabinet and committee updates and announcements, including a reminder about Pennington’s Feb. 15 event.


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Ella Stern, Associate Features Editor
Ella Stern (she/her) is a first-year prospective Poli Sci and/or History major from Natick, Massachusetts. She spends her free time thinking about Simon and Garfunkel, and also donkeys.

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