Earl and Schafer explain their MSA cabinet picks
None of the interim executive cabinet members from Gomez and Hanner’s selections re-applied for their positions.
Apr. 27, 2016
When Missouri Students Association President Sean Earl and Vice President Tori Schafer were selecting their new executive cabinet, they didn’t prioritize good grades or “leadership culture” involvement. The main characteristic they looked for was passion.
The two had to pick a new executive cabinet after the resignations of former President-elect Haden Gomez and running mate Chris Hanner. Gomez and Hanner chose cabinet members but they were not confirmed by the Operations Committee or Senate.
None of the interim executive cabinet members from Gomez and Hanner’s selections reapplied for their positions. All of the members of cabinet have been confirmed in operations committee.
Sophia Dieckhaus was picked as chief of staff for her dedication to the campaign team and the vision Earl and Schafer have for MSA. She was also the one who came up with the “Empower MU” slogan for their campaign.
“She truly believes in the vision that we have for MSA,” Earl said. “To me that’s fundamental for progress because if you hire a chief of staff, she can be great at scheduling, she could be a great assistant, but if she doesn’t believe in the message that you’re pushing and the vision that you have then it’s going to be more problematic than beneficial at the end of the day.”
Jessica York was chosen as deputy chief of staff because of her philanthropic mindset. She expressed interest in working to improve mental health services on campus and will be working closely with Schafer on the national sexual assault prevention campaign It’s On Us.
Taylor Harrington’s outgoing personality played a large role in her selection as chief inclusivity officer. Earl thinks that it is crucial to the part considering she will be the connection between MSA and the social justice groups on campus.
“We didn’t want someone who knew all the different social justice terms and all the different vocabulary and then go into a meeting and just sit there,” Earl said. “We wanted someone that can go in and truly interact and bring that feedback to us so we can act upon it.”
Although it was less prominent, MSA experience also played a part in the selection of candidates. Earl said they wanted to pick a few freshmen for the cabinet. However, the freshmen only applied to positions that required more MSA experience, such as the secretary of auxiliaries.
“You need to have a little bit of MSA background to understand what the department is doing,” Schafer said.
When Earl selected the person who would replace him in his former position as secretary of auxiliaries, he emailed the auxiliary directors asking for feedback on the candidates.
Former interim Secretary of Auxiliaries Leslie Parker received a majority of the support mostly due to her experience, Earl said. She also walked into the interview with an extensive plan outlining her vision for MSA for the next four years.
As the new director of the Department of Student Activities, Sarah Frey had more experience in DSA than any of the other candidates. She has served as a regular member, junior chair, senior chair, assistant director and now director. Earl believes this experience can allow her to determine what will move the department forward at every level.
Earl looked at Sammie Arnold’s involvement throughout campus when selecting him as his director of the Department of Student Communications. He wanted someone who would advocate for those whose voices couldn’t be heard.
“We were really looking for someone who’s not only social media savvy but also someone who can go out into the student body and engage their voice for MSA,” Earl said.
Earl and Schafer looked for a desire in the candidates to expand the role they were applying for. They especially found this in director of the Department of Student Services Casey Frost. Frost’s main aspiration for DSS is working on developing programs that improve student retention.
One critique he’s received on his cabinet is the lack of gender diversity, Earl said. There are four women and one man, Sammie Arnold, on the cabinet.
“I understand that it’s not as diverse as it could be,” Earl said. “We also have to consider the applications that are there. Regardless of gender I’m going to pick the best person for the job.”
A common thread among the cabinet is the amount of business and journalism majors. The only exceptions are Jessica York, a nursing major, and Taylor Harrington, a psychology major. This is also a reflection of the application pool, Earl said.
Edited by Waverly Colville | firstname.lastname@example.org