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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

LB talks transparency, inclusion with Dean of Students Gutierrez

LB talks transparency, inclusion with Dean of Students Gutierrez

On Thursday, Feb. 15, Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) held their weekly meeting. With the addition of new members from the spring special election, the meeting began with introductions from both new and previously elected members of the Legislative Body (LB) and transitioned to a Q&A session with Dean of Students Javier Gutierrez. 

Speaker of the LB Reagan Kimzey ’24 began by asking Gutierrez to define his role as dean of students. 

Gutierrez explained that his role can be understood in two parts. As an administrator, his job is to review policies and ensure that students and faculty get consistent answers about them. 

“If I see a policy that would disparage or not provide equity for other individuals on campus, [my job is] making sure that I call that out, … and making sure that the leadership team knows about that,” Gutierrez said. 

Gutierrez said his second role is a voice that communicates between students, administration and the leadership team. He explained that he considers many questions when there are changes on campus. 

“If there’s policy decisions happening, [my role involves] saying, ‘are we letting students know, or are we involving students?’” Gutierrez said.

Related to collaboration, Gutierrez said that he works with different people and departments across campus such as Residential Life, the Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness and the Associate Dean of Students Angela Walker.

Junior representative Mena Feleke ’25 asked what specific areas Gutierrez plans on improving at Macalester.

Gutierrez emphasized that caring for students is his priority right now. Regarding policies, he mentioned his interest in reviewing and clarifying information about the dining plan, the construction of new buildings on campus and the history of alcohol policies.

Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) Chair Eliora Hansonbrook ’25 asked Gutierrez how he plans on interacting with the Macalester Undergraduate Workers’ Union (MUWU).

Gutierrez said that he doesn’t know the history behind the student group’s effort to unionize but is in the process of learning. He is prioritizing listening to MUWU members’ voices and finding out how the students can work in line with policies.

Hansonbrook then furthered this discussion, asking if he plans to advocate for the rest of the administration to recognize MUWU. Gutierrez said that although he has not met with the union organizers, Vice President for Student Affairs Kathryn Kay Coquemont has, and he is happy to join that conversation.

Junior representative Tor Olsson ’25 asked how Gutierrez’s role can support student voices within MCSG’s shared governance system.

Gutierrez emphasized making sure all voices are heard, being accountable to the entire student body – not just the members of MCSG – and being aware of how current decisions will affect future students.

“It’s been that balance of making sure that we’re not thinking about just ourselves right here and right now, and that we’re thinking about future and broader impacts as well: our neighbors, the land we live on,” Gutierrez said.

First-year representative Norah Juzenas ’27 then opened the floor for Gutierrez to ask his questions to the LB.

Gutierrez asked if the student body believes that the administration is working for the best interest of students, or if students generally hold negative assumptions that the administration is more concerned with business relations.

The LB gave mixed responses, with some members saying students’ perspectives depend on personal background and circumstances. Members added that a common sentiment among students was that the administration is inconsistent and not involved enough in dialogue with students.

“When it comes to committees … that are only just administrative personnel and not having a student there or student perspective, … it does feel like administration makes decisions from an ivory tower versus being on the ground and talking to students,” Cabinet Chair Willow Albano ’26 said.

Moving to the second half of the meeting, President Mariah Loeffler-Kemp ’24 introduced a representative from MUWU, Henna Schecter ’26. Schecter explained the processes that the organizers are currently undertaking to make MUWU an official union. She said that MCSG can support the group by relaying MUWU’s requests to administration.

Following this conversation, Giehler began the process to charter two student organizations: MacHoYo and Harm Reduction at Mac. The LB chartered both organizations.

Afterwards, Hansonbrook introduced FAC funding requests and approval, granting $6,967.68 from the Travel Fund and $680.00 from the Operating Fund to the Macalester College Chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA). YDSA requested the funds for its members to attend the 2024 YDSA Winter Conference in Atlanta. The LB voted and approved the fund request.

The meeting concluded with committee and Cabinet updates and announcements.


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