Earl and Schafer take office, closing the book on a tumultuous six months for MSA

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs: “We’ve lived through an interesting year. We know that we’ve got to do better. And all the people in this room are committed to that.”
Newly elected MSA president Sean Earl gives his inaugural address on April 9 in the Student Center.

On a small stage in the middle of the Student Center on Saturday, Sean Earl and Tori Schafer took their oaths of office.

MSA’s trademark black and gold letters displayed prominently in the background as Earl thanked the students for allowing him the opportunity to rebuild their trust in MSA.

Earl and Schafer were elected into office in March during the special election, which was held when evidence came to light about campaign infractions against President-elect Haden Gomez.

Family, friends and fellow MSA members looked on as Earl and Schafer each gave their inaugural address. The first to deliver her speech, Schafer fought back tears as she described how her parents had raised her to be both independent and compassionate.

Schafer, who comes from a small town in Ohio, told the audience how she had to use her dad’s credit card to pay MU’s application fee because her mother was skeptical about letting her attend college in Missouri. Schafer said her mother’s doubt persisted until the family visited MU’s campus for the first time.

“It was obvious she was going to rise to the top no matter what she did,” her father, Mark Schafer said. “She’s going to leave a mark on Missouri before she leaves.”

“If she leaves,” her mother Shelly Schafer added jokingly.

In his inaugural address, Earl also gave credit to his family, mentors and friends, saying it was only because of them that he was able to reach the office of MSA president.

Earl’s mother, Evelyn Moore, who was unable to be at Traditions Plaza when the results of the election were announced, said she was glad she was able to see him take on his role officially.

“Just being here and watching (Sean) and Tori give their speeches, it was very touching,” she said. “I’m a proud mama today.”

Former MSA President Payton Head, who Earl counted as one of his mentors, gave the closing remarks. During an interview after the inauguration, Head said he is happy to know Earl not only as his successor, but also as his friend.

“He’s someone that I always know I can call on,” Head said. “That’s why he’s going to be amazing for the students here. Because if I know that I can call up Sean for anything, he’s going to feel that way towards anything and anybody.”

Faculty members were also on hand to speak at the inauguration. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs gave the opening speech and emphasized the importance of keeping MSA relevant.

Scroggs noted MSA’s importance in creating the LGBTQ Center, the RSVP Center and the Student Recreation Complex. The RSVP Center was an MSA auxiliary before it moved to the Department of Student Life, according to previous Maneater reporting.

Scroggs said that student government and the administration should push each other to improve MU so that they can “move forward together.”

“We’ve lived through an interesting year,” Scroggs said. “We know that we’ve got to do better. And all the people in this room are committed to that.”

Before the inauguration, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain, who served as the event’s keynote speaker, challenged Earl and Schafer to take on their leadership roles wholeheartedly.

As he spoke on the importance of leadership that fulfills students’ “enduring needs,” Spain often turned from the crowd to address the president- and vice president-elect directly.

“Let’s explore a new model for making Mizzou great,” Spain said. “Perhaps we can not only lead at becoming a better institution, but we can lead by using a system, an approach that helps us meet the needs of the people that we collectively serve. Thank you in advance for the hard work that lies ahead.”

Despite the events of last semester and the controversies in MSA, Schafer said she still believes in the power MU and student government have to create positive change.

“I wish everyone who doubted our student population this past semester could see what I’ve seen in the past few months,” Schafer said in her speech. “I wish they could see how the Mizzou family can come together because we want a better university. Students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration truly care about making this university great for generations to come.”

Edited by Allyson Vasilopulos | avasilopulos@themaneater.com

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