Michigan Student Assembly Vice President Jennifer Nathan resigned last night, saying she could no longer handle the burden of her position and take enough classes to graduate in four years.
MSA Treasurer Anita Leung was appointed by a vote of the assembly to take Nathan’s place at yesterday’s MSA meeting. She will serve until a new president and vice president are elected in the next student government elections in March.
“After roughly seven months of neglect, my studies must come first for the next four months,” said Nathan, an LSA senior. “Being vice president is a huge responsibility … but I need to be able to not have that responsibility right now. I need to put myself first for a while.”
MSA President Jason Mironov said Nathan “could never have predicted the academic challenges facing her next semester.” Both he and Nathan declined to specifically detail those challenges.
Nathan’s resignation was not announced to the assembly before last night’s meeting, and several representatives expressed surprise when she told them she was departing.
But Nathan said for the past few weeks she had been reassessing whether she could commit herself to the assembly and feeling out how the other members of MSA’s executive board would feel about her departure. Eventually MSA President Jason Mironov suggested she leave, she said.
“I don’t know who first said it to who, but … we all realized it was time for me to move on,” she said.
Nathan has served various positions on the assembly since her freshman year. In the elections last March she and MSA President Jason Mironov won the two main spots on the executive board running on the ticket of the now-defunct Students First party. Leung ran for vice president under the also-defunct University Party, which finished second in the elections.
The MSA vice president is responsible the organizing different committees and projects, and frequently has to communicate with Unviersity administrators, Mironov said. Nathan added that she did not believe she could continue to fulfill her task of being available to schedule meetings every day.
Mironov said the greatest challenge facing the assembly in the wake of Nathan’s resignation will be informing all of the University administrators who Nathan worked with of her departure, and making sure that Leung has all the proper contacts with the University.
But Nathan said MSA will not be affected by her departure because one of Leung’s greatest strengths is that she “is extremely well organized.”
“Anita is so dedicated and capable, I have no doubt that she will be an incredible vice president,” she said.
“She’s determined to be successful on the projects she picks up,” Mironov said.
Nathan departed from the assembly reading the poem “Ulysses” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which earned her a standing ovation. But after the speech Leung joked that she “didn’t really understand the poem.”
MSA also officially inducted its new representatives who won last month’s student government elections at yesterday’s meeting.