MUSG shows its feminine side

Rikida Starace

Senior Kate Agnew, Marquette University Student Government’s president, is one of only five female presidents in the history of Marquette.

Although she is part of this minority, Agnew said she doesn’t seperate herself because she is female.

“I don’t see myself as different,” Agnew said. “I’m a person and a student leader.”

While Agnew assures that gender will have no effect in her agenda for the upcoming year, the fact that there have only been four female MUSG presidents before her in Marquette’s history is intriguing to some.

“There’s varying student expressions toward leadership,” said Jon Dooley, MUSG adviser. “The tendency is that males are more attracted to seek leadership roles or offices and women seek to create change — such as through community service.”

Though not all student leaders fall under that stereotype, both men and women seem to be making positive change in their communities, according to Dooley.

“We have powerful men making a difference in community service and equally powerful women in our Senate,” Dooley said.

And if anything, this historical fact is a positive outlook for the university and the future of MUSG. Last spring, as Agnew and senior Jenny Risch faced off for the presidency, it was the first time in 45 years that two women were running against each other in the final election, according to Dooley.

“This is a great thing because it lets women leaders of Marquette know that they have a great range of leadership to get involved in,” Dooley said.

Agnew is also aware of what her new leadership position means to her peers.

“I would be flattered if someone called me a role model,” Agnew said. “But overall I just work hard and do my best, and I hope that others will do that, too.”

It is important to distinguish the position of MUSG president as a job to serve the students, Agnew said.

Paul Bergl, executive vice president, is excited to work with Agnew.

“She’s fabulous to work with,” Bergl said. “Kate has a great attitude and motivates the rest of us. She’s very positive and brings a lot to the table.” As the school year kicks off, Agnew hopes people can look past the fact that she’s the first MUSG female president in four years.

“I would hate to think that if we had a female president of the United States that she would run the country based on her gender,” Agnew said. “She should run as elected, and that is what I plan to do.”

Agnew has been an integral part of MUSG since her start as a Mashuda Hall senator in her sophomore year, and now follows a line of significant female MUSG presidents at Marquette.

Carrie Beehner (1999-2000) was elected after a somewhat turbulent year for MUSG in which the president and the financial vice president resigned and the programming board petitioned to be its own organization. Beehner was instrumental in bringing MUSG back together and also worked hard to have study areas in Cudahy Hall, said Mark McCarthy, dean of student development.

Christine Jaspers (1991-’92) emphasized a number of social justice issues during her term. She was instrumental in drafting a recommendation to the administration to expand the university’s non-discrimination clause to include sexual orientation, McCarthy said.

Kathleen Hintze Spears (1983-’84) was interested in academic issues and worked to expand the STAR program, review the teaching evaluation system and develop a Guide to Marquette Professors based on student evaluations, McCarthy said.

Maureen Brady served in the late 1970s. No information could be found about her term.