MUSG transition underway after VP resigns

MUSG President Arica Van Boxtel and former Executive Vice President Bill Neidhardt
MUSG President Arica Van Boxtel and former Executive Vice President Bill Neidhardt

By Ben Greene and Sarah Hauer

benjamin.greene@marquette.edu and sarah.hauer@marquette.edu

A leadership transition in Marquette Student Government has begun this week after MUSG announced last Wednesday that Executive Vice President Bill Neidhardt has resigned from his position, effective immediately. Neidhardt is a senior in the College of Art & Sciences.

President Arica Van Boxtel, a senior in the College of Communication, said Neidhardt informed the executive board of his decision in an email Jan. 7.

Neidhardt cited academics and post-graduation career preparation as the main reasons he chose to step down.

“It’s really about making sure that I am available to make the choices I’m going to need to this next semester,” Neidhardt said. “It’s really about preparing myself to make sure that when I chase my dream, I’m heading somewhere that is really fruitful.”

Brittany Riesenbeck, the outgoing MUSG financial vice president and a junior in the College of Business Administration, received Neidhardt’s initial resignation notice last week and said she was understanding of his situation.

“As students, when we’re involved with so many things, it’s tough to realize that you are a student first, so if Bill saw the need to resign for those reasons, he is completely within reason to do that,” Riesenbeck said. “I’m sure that Bill’s decision probably came with his academics when grades came out.”

Neidhardt said he began thinking about resigning in December and immediately shared his thoughts with Van Boxtel.

“Over break is when we started having that conversation,” Van Boxtel said. “It happened pretty quickly, but we talked about it and determined that it makes sense.”

Van Boxtel selected Joe Daufenbach, an off-campus senator and senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, to be Neidhardt’s successor. The appointment will need to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the MUSG senate during its first meeting of the semester on Thursday. If approved, Daufenbach will spend three months in the role before the next election.

Neidhardt said his decision to resign was simplified by the availability of a capable replacement in Daufenbach. The former executive vice president said he does not expect the senate to vote against Daufenbach’s appointment.

“Once I knew that there would be someone who could not only take over for me, but do a better job, I felt really confident passing that off to him,” Neidhardt said.

Van Boxtel said she chose Daufenbach to fill the vacancy because of his history with the organization and the time he spent on the Student Organization Funding committee, which allocates money for student organizations. Constitutionally, the Executive Vice President serves as chair of the committee.

Neidhardt agreed that Daufenbach’s experience with student organization funds made him an appealing candidate, since one of Neidhardt’s main goals for MUSG last semester was to make sure the funding process was running as efficiently as possible.

“While I was on the SOF committee, no one was more cohesive and more well-rounded in what their views on that subject were than Joe,” Neidhardt said. “He really knew where he stood. He really understands it probably better than I did.”

Daufenbach accepted the nomination and said he is looking forward to getting started after Thursday’s senate vote.

“I have always been interested in this type of role with MUSG,” Daufenbach said. “I just want to help and do what’s right for the student body. While it is unfortunate that Bill had to step down, this is a really good opportunity.”

Daufenbach also served as chair of the Business and Administration standing committee within the senate.

“Joe is very level-headed and thorough in his work, no matter if it is in MUSG or other areas on campus,” VanBoxtel said. Last year, Daufenbach received the Junior of the Year leadership award from the Office of Student Development.

“To some extent, I am a stand-in,” Daufenbach said. “I see my biggest challenge as stepping into the role and making the transition.”

Daufenbach said since  the executive vice president and other members of the executive board do not participate in senate debates, it will be difficult to sit back during senate meetings instead of talking and debating with his colleagues.

Van Boxtel emphasized the importance of making the upcoming transitional period smooth for the organization.

“While it’s hard and it’s not ideal, it’s something we need to go through,” she said. “I think at the end of the day it will be better for him and for the organization.”

In an effort to minimize the time it will take for Daufenbach to get acquainted with his new responsibilities, Van Boxtel, Neidhardt and Daufenbach met Monday to discuss the upcoming semester. Additionally, Daufenbach said he and Neidhardt will continue to work together in the coming weeks.