MSA confirms new executive cabinet
The cabinet will serve for one year under President Sean Earl and Vice President Tori Schafer.
Apr. 27, 2016
The Missouri Students Association Senate confirmed President Sean Earl and Vice President Tori Schafer’s executive cabinet during full Senate April 13. Seven people received positions on the cabinet, which will serve the duration of Earl and Schafer’s term.
When choosing the cabinet, Earl and Schafer looked for passion and those who are best for the position, not “leadership culture” or good grades.
Read our profiles on the appointees below.
Chief of Staff: Sophie Dieckhaus
Sophie Dieckhaus, a sophomore business and political science major, served as one of the Earl/Schafer campaign managers, but said she was not sure she would apply for the position of chief of staff until after the slate won the election.
Dieckhaus was previously interim chief of staff under former President Payton Head after the termination of former Chief of Staff Kelcea Barnes. She said her discussions with Earl and Schafer as well as the resignations of former President-elect Haden Gomez and running mate Chris Hanner eventually motivated her to take the position.
“MSA is really important to me, so I wanted to help the name become pure again,” she said.
According to the MSA Constitution, the duty of the chief of staff is to serve as an assistant to the president and vice president. The flexibility of the position means that the specific role of the chief of staff changes based on the needs of the current president and vice president.
Dieckhaus said her job within the executive cabinet would be to keep track of the projects of other members. She hopes to make sure all executive cabinet members stay organized in their goals and meet deadlines so that the group stays on track.
“We have a huge platform, and I would love for us to succeed in everything,” she said. “We only have one year, so that’s kind of a time constraint, but that’s one of the biggest goals (I have in this position).”
She said she is looking forward to working with Earl and Schafer during such a pivotal time at MU.
“I think Mizzou’s in a really fragile state,” she said. “I’m hoping that we’ve gotten out of the mud and a lot of good things come our way.”
Deputy Chief of Staff: Jessica York
Jessica York, a sophomore pre-nursing major, will take on a distinct role from Dieckhaus’ as the deputy chief of staff.
Unlike the chief of staff, the deputy position is not outlined in the Constitution and, for that reason, does not need to be confirmed through Senate. In contrast to Dieckhaus’s organizational role, York will be working on specific projects related to her areas of expertise as well as any additional duties given to her by Earl and Schafer.
York is the president of MU’s chapter of Active Minds, a mental health advocacy group. She helped Earl/Schafer develop the mental health aspects of their platform and plans to continue that advocacy through her position. Additionally, she said she would work with Schafer to further the It’s On Us campaign.
She is also on the Student Advisory Committee for Active Minds, which helps plan national programming for the organization, is a member of Alpha Chi Omega and STRIPES, and was a spring site leader for Mizzou Alternative Breaks. Despite her many other involvements, she is confident in her ability to manage her workload.
“I’m very organized,” she said. “My email is set up with probably 10 or so different folders, so I keep organized that way, and then I just try to plan out my days so I make the most of every minute I have.”
She hopes to bring her mentality of advocacy and empathy to the position and challenge those around her.
“One my favorites of MAB’s principles is serve, don’t help,” she said. “You’re serving on an equal playing field. You’re not better than them in any way. So that’s kind of how I like to look at student leadership. I’m no better than the average student. I’m serving them and they’re serving me in the same respect.”
Chief Inclusivity Officer: Taylor Harrington
Sophomore Taylor Harrington, a newcomer to MSA, said she is excited to learn the “ins and outs” of the organization while serving on the executive cabinet. As chief inclusivity officer, Harrington said she wants to strengthen the relationship between MSA and the various social justice centers on campus.
Although she has not previously been involved in student government, Harrington has gained experience through an internship in Jefferson City. She is also a member of Mizzou United Ambassadors, a team of students who work with admissions to help recruit minority groups to MU.
As a black woman, Harrington said she has been put in a situation that allowed her to “naturally” experience different types of diversity at MU. Harrington said she has always felt welcome at Mizzou and would like to make sure others feel the same way.
“I’m definitely the kind of person who wants to be a voice for the people,” she said. “I want to be that person who stands up for people’s rights and allow (other people) to understand where someone (else) is coming from.”
The position of chief inclusivity officer position has existed on past cabinets, however under the Payton Head administration the role was absorbed into the presidential duties. Gomez brought it back under his administration.
Harrington said her majors of psychology and sociology will help her to see the various perspectives of students across campus. She said she is excited to work with the rest of the executive cabinet toward a “more inclusive Mizzou.”
“We all chose (Mizzou) for a reason,” Harrington said. “This is our home away from home. We make our friends here, (and) this is where we grow as people. It’s not fair for anyone to feel like they’re not safe (or) like they’re not welcome somewhere that they absolutely are.”
Secretary of Auxiliaries: Leslie Parker
Sophomore Leslie Parker joined the Student Affairs Committee as a freshman and served as the Senate clerk last semester. She also worked on the Gomez/Hanner campaign during the November election. When Sean Earl stepped down from his position as secretary of auxiliaries to run in the special election, Parker stepped into the position as an interim and will now take over the role officially.
Parker said she has wanted to be the secretary of auxiliaries since her first MSA info session and applying was a “no brainer.”
She was attracted to the position because she believes the auxiliaries directly impact numerous students on campus.
“The really great thing about (the auxiliaries) is that the Missouri Students Association is supposed to be a service government,” Parker said. “I really think the auxiliaries are the core of that in every way.”
Parker said she wants to ensure that all 11 auxiliaries continue to get equal attention from MSA. Parker also said she would like to increase the saliency of the auxiliaries so that some of the lesser known auxiliaries are more available to students.
“A lot of people know what STRIPES is, but not a lot of people could tell you what the Craft Studio is or even where it’s located,” Parker said.
Parker said she is excited to continue in this position officially and help them help students.
“All eleven of them are totally dedicated to serving the students here in such unique ways,” Parker said. “I think if you took away the auxiliaries the impact would be so profound because all of them – they reach thousands and thousands of students.”
Director of the Department of Student Activities: Sarah Frey
Junior Sarah Frey joined the Department of Student Activities as a freshman and has served in a number of leadership positions in the Films Committee, eventually becoming chairwoman. At the beginning of 2016, Frey became the assistant DSA director before applying to be on the executive cabinet.
“I really have a passion for the Department of Student Activities and events,” Frey said. “It’s a fun thing when you curate happiness.”
Frey recalls being nervous about fitting in at MU during her first semester, but that she found her place in DSA. As an older member of her department, Frey said she loves seeing freshman come into DSA and watch them grow within the organization.
Although she never envisioned herself on the executive cabinet, Frey said her love for DSA encouraged her to take on leadership roles throughout her college career. As the Director of Student activities, Frey said she wants to reform the department to help the committees in DSA “come together.”
“This semester we stopped branding the committees individually and just branded it as DSA as a whole,” Frey said. “I would kind of like to make it all internally a little different.”
As the cost of entertainment continues to rise, Frey said one of DSA’s challenges will be to continue to provide successful and relevant events to students while working within the department’s budget but said her experience in the committee will help DSA run effectively.
Frey also emphasized the importance of DSA in both large and small events.
“We are the ones behind the speakers and the concerts and the little events where we give out cocoa in the Student Center,” Frey said “Our job is to create happiness for the students so we want our students to be involved in it.”
Director of the Department of Student Communications: Sammie Arnold
Sammie Arnold is a sophomore political science major who wants to one day be the mayor of his hometown, Kansas City. Prior to the being the director of student communications, he was a member of the DSC Outreach Committee.
DSC has two committees: Outreach, and Social Media and Technology. Outreach is responsible for reaching out to non-MSA members and recruitment, while Social Media and Technology raises awareness for events through social media.
Arnold said during his confirmation in Operations that he wanted MSA to host open meetings to which members outside of MSA are invited instead of just Senate, executive cabinet and auxiliaries.
“I feel as if, coming from an outside perspective, students feel as if the MSA account only promotes MSA auxiliaries and departments, when we are the voice for all students, so I want to open that up to everyone,” Arnold said during the confirmation.
He also said during the confirmation that he thought MSA needed to advocate for outside groups and communities.
“One thing I brought up in my interview is, on (this campus), everybody has an issue,” he said during the confirmation. “Every identity, every department, every college has some sort of an issue. The thing is, the only people who hear about that are the people in that department, the people who identify with that identity. It’s up to the Missouri Students Association to bridge that gap.”
Director of the Department of Student Services: Casey Frost
Sophomore Casey Frost, who was interim chairwoman of the Department of Student Services Safety and Wellness Committee during the special election, said she was not put off by the resignations of Gomez and Hanner.
“I don’t think you can judge an entire organization like MSA on the actions of two people,” she said. “Yes, what happened with them was awful, but I think the fact that they’re not in office anymore shows something is working right.”
Frost is a business major, a member of Alpha Delta Pi and is also involved with the International Justice Mission. She said her involvement with the Safety and Wellness Committee led her to apply for the position of director.
In addition to the Safety and Wellness Committee, the department contains the Housing Committee and the Special Projects Committee. Frost said she will be applying skills she learned from her chairwoman position, which she said included organizational and communication skills, to leadership of the entire department.
“I like to think that I’m approachable, open minded, and I try to delegate,” she said. “It’s definitely easier to get things done when you let other people help, so that’s definitely something that I think is important.”
One of Frost’s goals for the position is to promote student safety through consulting students and other organizations.
“I think that there are quite a few things that we need to move forward from on this campus, especially with everything that has happened in the past year, and more than this year,” she said. “I think an important thing is to just make sure people feel safe on our campus.”
Edited by Waverly Colville | firstname.lastname@example.org