Incoming Administration Manages Unprecedented Challenges, Selects Executive Board

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!”

Flandreau and Chrisom Victorious in Student Body Elections as Hughes-Ethier Administration Comes to a Close

Voting in the election for 2020 Student Body President and Vice President concluded Tuesday with no candidate securing the majority required to win outright. At 9:53 p.m. on Tuesday, SGA Secretary of Internal Procedure, Spencer Dias, informed the student body of the inconclusive result via email. 

Article V. Section A. of the SGA constitution requires that a runoff election be held “between the two teams with the highest vote totals” in the event that no ticket garners a majority of the total votes cast. 

In the same email, Dias announced on behalf of SGA that this runoff election would result in either Rit Flandreau ‘22 and Kevin Chrisom ‘22, or  Joey Francis ‘21 and Julie Sullivan ‘21 being elected president and vice-president respectively. Finally, Dias wrote that the result would be announced: “by the end of Thursday night.” 

With no numbers provided, the only certain result of the first round of voting is that Gina Gagliardi ‘22 and Madison Hediger ‘22 received fewer total votes than the other two tickets.  

At Wednesday’s Senate meeting, the inconclusive election results overshadowed the last meeting of the Hughes-Ethier administration. Both remaining tickets were in attendance, with Julie Sullivan and Kevin Chrisom there in their official capacity, and Joey Francis and Rit Flandreau in public seating. 

The air cleared quickly, however, as student after student stood up to thank and congratulate President Hughes and Vice President Ethier. Academic Committee Chair Viger gave a moving speech, which concluded with roaring applause. Secretary Murphy, a senior, made an impassioned plea to continuing members. “I hope you don’t just think about your time here, but how you can impact future Anselmians as well,” she said. 

Later, the Senate passed a resolution calling for trash cans in Father Bernard Court without discussion and moved on to discuss ideas for outdoor seating in front of the Student Center. Other than VP Ethier’s announcement, however, that runoff election voting would be moved to the Student Center, discussion of the election was limited. 

When asked to comment on the state of the race at Wednesday’s Senate meeting, presidential candidate Francis said, “We feel optimistic, we feel good about tomorrow.” Vice-presidential candidate Chrisom and presidential candidate Flandreau expressed a similar sentiment, with Flandreau telling The Hilltopper: “It was a very exciting two weeks, very stressful, a couple of sleepless nights…but we’re really excited for what’s to come.” 

At 7:33 p.m. on Thursday night, the Student Government Association’s official email account declared Flandreau and Chrisom victorious in a message to the student body. Upon winning the election, Flandreau told the Hilltopper, “We are here for the students. We have some big shoes to fill, but we are very confident that we can maintain and keep going with this organization. It was a long two weeks, but completely worth it.” Chrisom added, “We’d also like to thank both the Francis and Gagliardi campaigns for running a clean and competitive race, and wish them all the best going forward.”