Biggest Embarrassment: The Missouri Students Association
May. 03, 2016
Many leaders of the Missouri Students Association have struggled to meet basic standards of integrity or, in many cases, remain in office.
The organization’s main purpose is to represent and advocate for the undergraduate students of the university, but members have been more preoccupied with addressing scandals than serving students. In short, MSA has been downright embarrassing this year.
The two most important members of the judicial branch have narrowly avoided impeachment. Senators drew up impeachment proceedings against Board of Elections Commissioners Chairwoman Emma Henderson, who submitted the BEC Handbook later than promised and, according to some senators, failed to preside over the presidential election.
Henderson, at least, convinced Senate to discontinue proceedings in a speech to the body. Chief Justice Whitney Barr has been interning in Washington, D.C., for the entire spring semester, and according to Operations Chairman Josh Tennison, the only reason she has not been removed is that she is not present to be impeached.
“You can’t hold an impeachment trial for somebody who’s not here,” he said in an interview at the time.
As for the legislative branch, five senators told The Maneater they ended up on the ballot without signing up to run. Four of them were later elected. Nobody knows who signed them up, but their addition has not helped dwindling Senate membership: there are currently 14 open seats in the association, and the body has struggled to reach quorum.
The worst embarrassment of all came from the executive branch. Former President-elect Haden Gomez and running mate Chris Hanner, who ran on a platform of transparency, were forced to resign after screenshots from their campaign GroupMe emerged that revealed the campaign had paid the Pocket Points app to send out an endorsement, which broke the BEC’s mass email policy.
The night Gomez and Hanner were scheduled to assume office, Senate held meetings to try to determine a way to bar them from inauguration. Concerned Student 1950 even made an appearance to criticize the duo. Gomez maintained that he would not resign until senators decided to allow him to assume office and be inaugurated. Then, in a tearful speech, he resigned, and Hanner soon followed.
Gomez was silent for weeks, but eventually retaliated by sending a timeline of his perspective of the events leading up to his resignation. He claimed members of MSA conspired in favor of the Ejaz/Parrie slate and compromised the senior officer neutrality clause of the bylaws, among other things.
When asked for proof, Gomez declined comment.
“The facts of the timeline do not need verification from you,” he told The Maneater in an email. “They are facts, which by definition doesn’t lend you leverage of their accuracy.”