Wednesday was a particularly busy day for MSA, and almost impossible to understand without an enormous amount of context. So, here it is.
By: Brett Stover – KCOU News Director/The Pulse Anchor/Politics Blogger
The Missouri Students’ Association had, in essence, four vice presidents in the last 24 hours. Payton Head is both the former and current president of MSA. None of the six candidates in last fall’s election are occupying either of the top two positions in the government.
If that seems confusing to you, that’s because it is. Here’s how we got here.
NOVEMBER 2015: Mizzou students receive an email from the app Pocket Points promoting Haden Gomez and Chris Hanner’s campaign to be MSA President and Vice President.
NOVEMBER 17, 2015: Former BEC chairwoman Emma Henderson declares that both the Gomez/Hanner campaign and the campaign of Syed Ejaz and Heather Parrie have committed “major violations” and will be prohibited from campaigning for the rest of the elections. (Ejaz/Parrie had shown up four hours early to a registered polling location.) Henderson then allows both campaigns to pay a $300 fine in order to continue campaigning. Henderson does not disqualify Gomez/Hanner because there is no proof that they had prior knowledge of the Pocket Points mass email.
NOVEMBER 18, 2015: During an emergency session, the MSA Senate votes to postpone the election results for 24 hours in order to give the BEC more time to review the alleged violations.
NOVEMBER 19, 2015; 8:30 P.M.: The BEC announces that the Gomez/Hanner slate won the election.
DECEMBER 10, 2015: President-elect Gomez dismisses former campaign manager Natalie Edelstein and former staffer Riley De Leon from his newly-announced cabinet. De Leon then posts a Facebook status apologizing for having worked for the Gomez/Hanner campaign.
JANUARY 27, 2016
MORNING: Edelstein sends MSA Senate Speaker Kevin Carr screenshots showing that Gomez and Hanner had prior knowledge of the Pocket Points mass notification. Carr then shares the screenshots with the Maneater.
AFTERNOON: Members of the MSA Senate’s Operations Committee meet in order to draft legislation to prevent President-elect Gomez from taking office that night.
6:00 P.M.: Full MSA Senate is in session.
6:30 P.M.: Abigail Kielty reads Edelstein’s statement regarding the screenshots: “I stand by my decision to release the screenshots of the Gomez/Hanner campaign team group me. This is not a decision I came to overnight. After going home and reflecting on the past semester during Winter Break I found it more and more difficult to stomach the things I did during this past election cycle. I lied and cheated, and looking back I am not proud of my behavior whatsoever. After much deliberation, I decided the only way I could right the wrongs I committed would be to inform the Mizzou community of what really happened during MSA elections. Mizzou deserves authentic leadership, and hopefully this information takes us one step closer to getting those leaders. I am sorry to anyone whom I may have hurt in this process. At the end of the day I am just trying to do the right thing, and I think I have finally done that.”
6:50 P.M.: Senator Joshua Tennison proposes Act 55-3: An Act to Nullify the 2015 Presidential Election Results. The proposed legislation would prevent Gomez and Hanner from being inaugurated and also call for a special election in the coming months.
7:30 P.M.: Open discussion of the proposed legislation begins. Haden Gomez answers questions from a group of students on a variety of issues, particularly his ethics and his positions on the Concerned Student 1950 movement.
8:12 P.M.: Heather Parrie speaks in front of the MSA Senate. She began with an anecdote about Syed Ejaz visiting the Concerned Student 1950 camp on the night of the Yik Yak threats last fall. Then, she admonished the senators for being too “scared” to act on important issues. Then, Parrie opened up about her personal experiences with and her true feelings about Haden Gomez. [You can watch her full remarks at about the 31:40 mark of this video.]
“I remember, Haden, at your very first tour team social,” Parrie said. “We were talking, you told me you want to run for MSA President. Then you say to me, ‘When are we going to fuck?’ … I did not report that because I do not have faith in the Title IX system that lets people like you go free.” [After this, there were literally 30 seconds of applause.]
Parrie ended her remarks by saying, “I hope when you go to sleep tonight you feel real shitty about it.”
8:23 P.M.: Jonathan Segers, two-time presidential candidate Jordan McFarland’s running mate last fall, implores the senators to look within themselves. Segers’ full remarks are at the 42:10 mark in the video.
“I’m just here to honestly say, what would 5-year-old you do right now? … Build on your resume or do what’s right?”
8:45 P.M.: The Senate discusses and ultimately rejects an amendment to Act 55-3 that would prevent Gomez and Hanner from running in a theoretical special election.
8:55 P.M.: The Senate discusses and adds an amendment to Act 55-3 that would have current MSA President Payton Head remain as the interim president until the proposed special election could be held.
9:29 P.M.: President-elect Haden Gomez announces his resignation. His full resignation speech is at the 8:25 mark of this video.
9:51 P.M.: Chris Hanner is sworn in as MSA President. Full video here.
9:52 P.M. Hanner appoints now-former MSA President Head as his vice president. Hanner then announces his resignation, effective at 10 P.M.
10:00 P.M. Payton Head is sworn in as MSA President.
10:10 P.M. Senator Bill Vega resigns as Budget Committee Chair; Payton Head appoints Vega as Vice President. Vega is then sworn in by the Operations Committee.
Clearly, this issue is far from completed. Former and current president Payton Head will graduate in May. Speaker Kevin Carr believes the Senate will vote during their next meeting to hold a special election for a new MSA President in the next few months. However, as of the publishing of this article the MSA Senate has not voted on any legislation for a new election so that is far from a foregone conclusion.