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Saturday, November 1, 2014

MSA anticipates a stronger group dynamic

The last time an MSA president left office was in 2004, due to impeachment.

Aug. 26, 2014

The resignation of former Missouri Students Association President Mason Schara last month led to a number of internal changes within MSA.

In accordance with the MSA Bylaws, former MSA Vice President Kelsey Haberberger filled Schara’s absence as president.

Haberberger appointed junior Matt McKeown, formally the MSA chief of staff, as her vice president.

In terms of transition of leadership, there are several steps that need to be taken, Coordinator of Student Government Farouk Aregbe said.

The process began by appointing Haberberger as president. From there, she appointed all new positions that were affected by the transition.

The new appointments will be introduced to MSA Senate on Sept. 10 to be confirmed.

“I think (MSA) has done a really good job of making things happen and moving things along,” Aregbe said.

Aregbe, who has been working with MSA for eight years, said this is the first time he has seen an MSA president resign.

The last time an MSA president left office was in 2004, when former MSA President Brian Laoruangroch was impeached on accounts of public intoxication while representing the student body in front of university officials, students, alumni, sponsors, state senators and representatives at an evening event.

Under new leadership, McKeown said he anticipates a new dynamic within the MSA executive board.

“Obviously there will be some changes since (Schara) isn’t here (since) new leadership always props a bit of a change,” he said. “But the good thing is that our cabinet is close, and we’ve formed those bonds with these people because we’re around each other so much. We have that relationship, and we have that bond and it will only continue to grow.”

MSA Senate Speaker Ben Bolin said one of the most important things to focus on during this time is to ensure MSA is maintaining the quality of its duties to the student body.

“Now is the time for us to come together as a group,” he said. “With (Haberberger) coming in and (Schara) stepping aside, it’s on all of us to pick up those responsibilities, fulfill the promises to the students and to make sure we follow through on all of our activities, projects and services.”

Bolin said he would describe Schara’s leadership style as more passive, while Haberberger’s is more involved.

“(Schara) set up a team, a very close-knit team, and in a lot of ways that created a lot of passive communication,” he said. “One of the things I think (Haberberger) is going to do with that team is make it even more approachable for others. While it is close-knit, I think (Haberberger) has the ability to make us all come together, regardless of whose team you’re coming from, and make us all work together so the quality of service does not falter.”

However, Aregbe said he does not believe it is the style of leadership that matters, but instead simply having the ability to set a goal and accomplish it.

“Everyone has different styles and I don’t know that a particular style is what’s most important at this point,” he said. “I think what’s most important is that there is a clear vision, a clear communication of that vision and a clear path as to how everyone fits into that vision.”

While the styles of the two leaders could be different, the overall objective is not, Haberberger said.

“(McKeown) and I have done our best to outline our goals for the semester, and have been in constant communication will all of our cabinet members,” Haberberger said. “Our cabinet has shifted position-wise, but our vision and goals are still the same.”

Under the new leadership, Aregbe said he is confident the group’s dynamic will not be compromised.

“What’s important is that everybody knows the goal and their role, … (and) I think they will do that with (Haberberger),” he said. “She was a student coordinator for Summer Welcome, and she worked directly with 36 Summer Welcome leaders who were either reporting to her directly or indirectly. She is very astute with working with leaders, so I don’t think we’re going to have a problem there.”

Bolin said he believes this change will strengthen MSA this fall.

“(Haberberger) has an ability to not only be that one central figure, but also to come off as reliable, dependable and someone you want to talk to about what’s going on,” he said. “I feel like that is one of the key aspects (Haberberger) is bringing to the position, but also an aspect that sets her apart, and is going to make this fall even better than the term previous.”

McKeown said work ethic has particularly helped MSA through this transition.

“The dynamic thus far, I think, will be really good,” McKeown said. “(Haberberger) and I work very well together, which is great because it’s always good to have that vice-president and president combination. She and I are very alike in the sense that we will work and work and work, and I think that will be a good thing for the changing dynamic of MSA.”

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