The Maneater

MSA President Payton Head steps back into office

Head and Vega will serve in office while the student body selects its next MSA president and vice president, who will be chosen through a special election process.

MSA President Payton Head speaks to an audience Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, in the Great Reading Room at Ellis Library in Columbia, Mo. Head was formally sworn into office at the inauguration event.

Missouri Students Association President Payton Head has been called on once more to carry the MU student body through a difficult transition. Last semester, Head was an active supporter of Concerned Student 1950 and worked diligently with students and administration to improve the campus climate.

After evidence of a compromised election was brought to light by screenshots of a GroupMe conversation between the Gomez/Hanner campaign staff, which prompted the resignation of MSA President-elect Haden Gomez, the student government was seemingly left with no leadership.

Gomez stepped down at Wednesday’s full Senate meeting. Earlier that night, former Budget Chair Bill Vega asked Head if he would consider remaining in office temporarily.

“I’m getting ready to graduate obviously,” Head said. “But at the same time I care about MSA, I care about the students and I want us to be in a much better place. I don’t want to leave MSA in a place where it’s not productive and not serving the student body like it should be.”

Head accepted, despite his concerns over responsibilities in his personal life, and was confirmed immediately following adjournment. Vega was confirmed as interim MSA vice president in an Operations committee meeting shortly after.

Head and Vega will serve for 30 days, per Article X Paragraph C of the MSA constitution, while the student body selects its next MSA president and vice president, who will be chosen through a special election process.

“All kinds of things would happen and this was the neatest, easiest way to do it where we weren’t breaking any by-laws,” former MSA Vice Presidential candidate Heather Parrie said in an interview after Senate. “We didn’t waste people’s time, but we did what we needed to do, and that’s what’s most important.”

Vega’s term as vice president overlaps with the annual MSA budgetary process. The MSA budget, which is an estimated $1.6 million of MU student fees, is allocated to MU departments and auxiliaries every spring semester.

“I was going to say no,” he said in an interview after Senate. “I wanted Payton to appoint someone else, but after tonight I realized that we need some sort of change in the association, and I feel like that’s one step that I can take personally that should shock the senate a little bit and get some new blood and new momentum.”

Head said he also hopes to do some internal re-vamping within MSA over the next 30-day interim period. He believes the election season proves there are some issues that need to be addressed within the organization.

“Today, we saw students come in with different testimonials and they were able to speak on their experience here at Mizzou and their perception of MSA,” he said. “I think it was really eye opening for senators and people involved in MSA to see the fact that you’re sitting up in these offices all day long and you say that you’re doing student advocacy and you’re doing student work but you don’t know the student body. So it’s extremely important for us to keep that in mind moving forward.”

Edited by Elizabeth Loutfi | eloutfi@themaneater.com

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