Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) Vice President of Governmental Affairs, or VPGA, Maysa Sitar has resigned after two years in the position, mainly citing concerns over next year’s Office of the President (OOTP) and mental health.
Sitar, who has been part of ASMSU since her freshman year, announced during Thursday’s committee meetings said that since the OOTP is currently all seniors, the next round of OOTP members would have no experience if someone didn’t step down.
“All of our leadership team is going to be graduating this year and I know in the past, this is my third different leadership team that I’ve been on at this point and it’s always really helpful to have someone who has been there last year and can just help lead the new group,” Sitar said.
She also cited mental health concerns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a consistently high workload and preparation for the Law School Admission Test.
“We work 20 hours every week and for all of my semesters in college, I’ve worked multiple jobs and had a pretty heavy course load,” Sitar said. “It definitely takes a pretty heavy toll when you’re constantly working or doing schoolwork and I think I just want to give myself a more relaxing final semester of college.”
Before serving in her role as VPGA, she was a General Assembly (GA) member, representing the College of Communication Arts and Sciences in her freshman year, and was elected VPGA in her sophomore year in 2018. She described her biggest achievements as VPGA, which mostly included working to expand student voting.
“We advocated a lot for an election day holiday for students and were pretty close to that before the pandemic, so I think that that’s something we laid a lot of groundwork for and may become possible in the future,” Sitar said. “I know something that I worked on doing was doubling our dorm registration efforts for voting, we hosted some successful on-campus debates for different political offices and something I’m always proud of is that we always made sure to put out a detailed guide, nonpartisan, for all of the elections.”
The role of the VPGA is to advocate on the behalf of students at the local, state and national levels. The GA will vote for the next VPGA shortly after winter break, although a specific date has yet to be determined by the ASMSU Undergraduate Election Commission.
ASMSU President Abii-Tah Bih was surprised to hear from Sitar that she would be resigning when they met for a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2. She described it as an emotional conversation and joked that Sitar couldn’t leave.
“After she said, ‘I want to resign,’ I told her, ‘You’re not going anywhere.’ That’s how shocked I was,” Bih said. “It was a very emotional moment for both of us.”
According to Bih, Sitar had the most experience out of any OOTP member and was often looked towards by the entirety of the organization.
“Even though I’m the president, I personally look up to her for many decisions. When I have to make a big decision, and I speak to the OOTP, I typically want to wait until I can also hear from Maysa.”
More specifically regarding her role as VPGA, Bih was impressed with the work she did.
“She has brought in hundreds upon hundreds of students to register to vote, she has knocked on doors, she has done the footwork in a way that nobody ever could have,” Bih said. “She’s highly respected in the organization because of that.”
Looking forward to the next VPGA, Bih said that whoever takes over should be prepared to work under pressure and be passionate about student advocacy.
“It’s said that a leader’s qualities are best seen when they’re under pressure, and ASMSU is under a lot of pressure given the COVID-19 crisis and just every single crisis we deal with every day,” Bih said. “I’d like to see a VPGA that can remain calm, poised, thoughtful and especially compassionate towards students, even under the worst conditions of pressure.”
Sitar offered the following words of advice for whoever succeeds her.
“Be very conscious about ensuring that everything you do engages students, relies on student input and is based on data and evidence,” Sitar said.
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