Dissolution of Macalester Student Government and the Installation of a Student Union sign now

By signing this petition, we are calling for the dissolution of Student Government and the installation of a Student Union in its stead to work for students and our organizations rather than against us.

Macalester students were recently informed by MCSG of a rollover of money from previous years Student Activity Fee dollars. In informing the student body about this rollover, MCSG has not been completely transparent. Students were told of only $50-75,000, while there is actually $106,000 in operating funds and $54,000 in capital funds, a total of $160,000 of our student activity fee dollars. This discovery, coupled with MCSGs proposal to spend all the money on capital improvements, has spurred great student reaction.

In reacting to the proposal to spend Student Activity Fee dollars meant to be used by student organizations for student programming on capital improvements to the college, we are not only demanding that the rollover be returned to student org budgets; we are also responding to many separate but related problems in MCSGs structure and governance.

The issues that we take with the student government, as it is now, are:
1. MCSG and its members are removed from organizing on campus. Few of them are involved in student organizations and rarely are they seen at the events they fund, much less involved in the planning processes for these events. This results in a top-down structure in which those in power have no appreciation for what those on the bottom do.

2. MCSG allocation practices are a method of gatekeeping for underrepresented groups. Especially in the last year, cultural orgs, queer-identified, female-identified, and political orgs have not gotten the money they deserve and need for programming. The current process for deciding which events are funded privileges normative programs that are identity-neutral or apolitical/uncontroversial.

3. Student government is structurally reproducing racist, homophobic, & sexist discourse: The structure of student government reproduces a white heterosexual, masculinist space regardless of the identities of the members of MCSG. Problematic and offensive language goes unchecked and is normalized, and interactions with org leaders are often patriarchal and condescending.

4. Pet Projects of MCSG board members are placed above other programming. The budget for Mix It Up Monday despite being late jumped the queue for the additional allocation process, delaying funding for other orgs, who expect and need a timely response on their requests. Many orgs have been asked to find alternative, local speakers for cheaper rather than those they propose; but this concern did not apply to the speaker brought for Build A Better Mac.

5. MCSG only cares about their legacy. In board meetings representatives frequently reference the creation of a legacy. Capital investment aims to facilitate that legacy and not necessarily to benefit student orgs.

It is important to note that we do not want to turn this into an argument that puts student organizations against one another. However, we want to call attention to the need to implement criteria for discussing all events on campus. We are also not demonizing every student on MCSG. However, we are holding members accountable for actions, both personal and structural, that have been exclusionary.

MCSG is supposed to represent the student body. Currently, this is not the case. They think they speak for us, but they do not speak with us. Our goal is to change these fundamental flaws in Student Government. We believe implementing a Student Union is a way to get rid of the hierarchical structures that exist within student government. Each and every student group on campus should have a place in the body that governs them. Equal representation and inclusion of every group would be ensured, as would a knowledge and appreciation for organizing processes and accountability for Union members, in the structure of the Union.

By signing this petition, we are calling for the dissolution of Student Government and the installation of a Student Union in its stead to work for students and our organizations rather than against us.

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Ladonna RamseyBy:
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Macalester Student Government

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