The official announcement from the Coronavirus Preparedness Task Force on March 13th that the campus would close left the college community scrambling to figure out how to proceed. Caught at a particularly inopportune moment, was the Student Government Association. The transition between the Hughes-Ethier and Flandreau-Chrisom administrations, the upcoming class elections, club appropriations, and other pending SGA business were all derailed by the sudden evacuation of the campus.
The most immediate issue facing SGA was simply who would be in charge as deadlines passed while events were postponed. For several days, it appeared that Secretary of Internal Procedures Spencer Dias would effectively assume the roles of both president and vice-president at the conclusion of finals. This decision was made after the incoming and outgoing administrations determined that the inauguration ceremony would likely need to be postponed until September.
In the event of a vacancy in the vice-presidency, the Secretary of Internal Procedures is constitutionally obligated to carry out the roll in the interim as “Chairperson.” This provision exists to keep the office of vice-president filled in the event that they are “unable to carry out the office,” as Secretary Dias explained in an April 6th email to the Hilltopper. In this unique and unprecedented case, however, both President Hughes and Vice-President Ethier would have simultaneously been rendered “unable to carry out the office.” As a result, Secretary Dias was set to de facto assume both roles upon the conclusion of final exams. Asked what he would prioritize in this new and substantially more powerful role, Dias said, “the elections, and just that.” He added that “The grand majority of my powers will not be touched.”
As the relative permanence of the Coronavirus pandemic set in, however, the entire issue was rendered moot. In a March 9th email, Dias updated the Hilltopper that, “It appears my emergency position will not be needed, an online swearing-in on zoom will occur soon.”
Regardless of when they would formally take office, the incoming Flandreau-Chrisom administration was nonetheless hard at work preparing to enter their new roles. When asked how the campus closure had affected the transition, President-elect Flandreau remained optimistic, saying that his administration is carrying on. “We have developed our E-Board, and have been training with Josh and Jacob through emails and texts,” he wrote, referencing the outgoing administration. “We are extremely impressed by how fast people are adjusting to the new routine and remote learning,” he added.
In an April 11th email to the Hilltopper, Vice-President-elect Chrisom provided the names of more than a dozen nominees selected to fill the new administration’s executive board. These are:
Chief of Staff: Caleb Kruger ’22
Secretary of Internal Procedures: Spencer Dias ’22
Secretary-General: Joshua Pratt ’22
Secretary of Public Relations: Delaney Flanagan ’23
Secretary of Club Affairs: Connor O’Brien ’21
Assistant Secretary of Club Affairs: Guy Parenteau ’23
Chair of Welfare Committee: Tyler Cullen ’22
Chair of Academic Committee: Aidan Pierce ’22
Chair of Room & Board Committee: Ben Mickens ’23
Organizational Outreach Liaison: Jenoyce Laniyan ’21
SAAC Liaison: Meredith Budds ’22
Assistant SAAC Liaison: Cole Corcoran ’22
Secretary of Programming: Sarah El Khoury ’21
Assistant Secretary of Programming: Brenna del Llano ’22
Secretary of Finance: Peter Simeone ’21
“The Board consists of a diverse group that represents all areas of campus,” Chrisom wrote, “We feel very confident that this Board will do some truly wonderful things and cannot wait to work with all of them to meet the needs of the students at Saint Anselm.” Chrisom also noted that while these nominations are final, they are subject to confirmation by the Student Senate.
The Vice-President-Elect also outlined the administration’s plans for the postponed class elections, originally set to be held in late March. “We have been in constant communication with Dean of Students Alicia Finn and the Secretary of Internal Procedures Spencer Dias about setting up a plan for the elections to take place,” he said, adding that more information regarding these elections would be available soon. Chrisom was, however, able to confirm that the incoming administration intended for sophomore, junior, and senior Class Council elections to be held in late September.
While there are plans in place to ensure the continuity of all aspects of student government, much remains uncertain, least of all when students will return to campus. “We need to have an amazing year, even more so with a short ending to the Spring semester,” Flandreau said.
Despite the incoming administration’s optimism and preparation, Flandreau conceded that “Other than continuous communication with each other, Dean Finn, and our board, there is not a lot we can do but plan plan plan.”
When asked if he had a message for the student body during this time, the President-Elect wrote: “Every student is doing an amazing job adjusting, and we understand how difficult the transition has been. However, Kevin and I are forward thinkers and are thrilled to be back in the Fall! Even though we will not be in our office in the Student Center, our email ‘doors’ are always open, so please do not hesitate to contact us! Be well, and go hawks!”