The president and vice president of the Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) announced their resignations during an Oct. 5 Senate meeting due to miscommunication and tension, SGLC members said.
President Margaret Bronec and Vice President Erla Dervishi were elected in April while Loyola classes were still entirely online. They’ve served in their positions for seven months but their resignations come only six weeks into the academic year.
Bronec and Dervishi’s resignations are effective Oct. 12.
“Internal to the SGLC, we’ve heard from senators and from our Presidential appointees,” Bronec said in her resignation speech. “Overwhelmingly the call is clear, many of you have requested our resignation.”
Bronec said her and Dervishi are prioritizing their mental wellness through this decision.
“As students, we are currently living through a global pandemic that impacted each of us in different ways,” Bronec said. “As student leaders, we are working to make Loyola a safe and well campus as we return to campus for the first time after 18 months. Everyone’s individual wellness needs to remain the priority at Loyola, and that includes mine and VP Dervishi’s.”
Dervishi reminded the SGLC body to “give each other grace.”
“We are in a huge transition period right now, and we are relearning in-person life while still battling the pandemic,” Dervishi said.
Bronec and Dervishi declined to further comment at this time.
“We’d like to comment but are trying to put our mental wellness first at this time,” Bronec wrote in an email to The Phoenix. “We appreciate your time and grace.”
When the president and vice president both resign, the speaker of the senate and chief justice step in to fill their roles.
SGLC Speaker of the Senate Ella Doyle, who has been involved with Loyola’s student government since August 2019, is now transitioning to her new position as president. Rhea Prag, who also joined SGLC in August 2019 and currently serves as chief justice this year, is transitioning to become the next vice president.
Doyle said there has been uncertainty and “trial-and-error” within SGLC since transitioning from an online to in-person campus life.
“Only having maybe five or six members of this entire organization that remembers what it was like to have an in-person SGLC, that’s obviously been a difficult transition,” said Doyle, a 20-year-old junior majoring in political science and criminal justice. “I think [it’s difficult] for the entire student body. Coming back to in-person classes is hard enough, let alone trying to lead an entire organization.”
Bronec has been associated with SGLC since fall 2019, serving as a senator and chairperson for the justice committee, The Phoenix reported. Dervishi joined SGLC during summer 2020, serving as chief of staff during the 2020-21 academic year.
The uncertainty and trial-and-error involved with being back on campus led to miscommunication and tension — which ultimately “resulted in President Bronec and Vice President Dervishi choosing to prioritize themselves and their health, which is respectable,” Doyle said.
Prag said she and Doyle found out about the changes in leadership Oct. 4 — just one day before Bronec and Dervishi shared their resignations with the SGLC body.
“It was nerve-racking at first, but we had some time to think over it and we’re definitely excited to move forward in these positions,” said Prag, a 20-year-old senior majoring in bioinformatics on the pre-med track.
Their first three goals are to prioritize passing legislation, filling four vacant SGLC positions and to continue “building rapport with administrators.”
“I can totally understand this coming as a shock to the student body as a whole, it was a shock to both of us,” Doyle said. “But here we are. We humbly serve the student body, and we want to be both as leaders and as an organization, available and flexible.”
The last time an SGLC president resigned was in 2016, The Phoenix reported.
Sophomore Joseph Kosman, who also serves as an SGLC senator, said he’s excited for SGLC to start a “new chapter.” He said he’s sharing his own perspective as a student and cannot speak on behalf of the SGLC body.
“This year has been very tumultuous for everyone,” Kosman, 19, said. “It’s the first year that we’re back in person. … But I have so many ideas that I want to bring to campus, and I know so many other individuals have those ideas.”
He said he encourages students to get involved with SGLC, whether that means reaching out to student government representatives or applying for one of the currently vacant positions.