The Student Association formally recommended that Executive Vice President-elect Peak Sen Chua become the SA’s next president in a statement Tuesday by its two top leaders.
“The Student Association cannot function in the absence of a president and executive cabinet,” SA President Erika Feinman and Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno said in the association’s weekly newsletter.
SA presidential elections were postponed to the fall after presidential candidate Lande Watson was disqualified from the race following charges of harassment and intimidation. The Division of Student Affairs and the Joint Elections Committee – the student body that oversees the elections – made the decision earlier this month.
“While it is with great disappointment that we must announce students will not have the opportunity to vote for the next SA president, we are confident in Peak’s ability to lead our organization during such a crucial time,” the statement said.
Last night, the SA Senate passed a bill that would allow Chua to become president-elect, giving him time to prepare for the presidency and allowing him to nominate an executive cabinet before he is sworn-in on May 2. Feinman is expected to sign the bill and it will be voted on by the newly-elected senate, which meets for the first time Wednesday.
Under previous SA rules, Chua could only begin preparing for his presidential administration after he was sworn in as executive vice president and then immediately assumed the presidency.
“The Student Association must continue to move forward,” the newsletter said. “We firmly believe that by following our governing documents and filling the vacancy left in the office of the president, the SA can continue to advocate for students.”
Chua released a Facebook statement Tuesday morning confirming that he will accept the presidential position after days of uncertainty over who would lead the SA next academic year.
“It is a tremendous honor to become the first international student in the history of The George Washington University Student Association to assume the presidency,” he said. “I look forward to bringing your voices to the table.”
As president-elect, Chua will have the ability to nominate an executive vice president. He announced he will nominate his former opponent in the executive vice presidential race, Sydney Nelson to the position.
“Everyone I have talked to expressed the need for someone who has deep knowledge about the SA as an organization, is a tireless advocate for students and a leader with a vision for supporting students,” Chua said in the statement. “I believe Sydney has all of these qualities and is passionate about advocating for students.”
The SA Senate-elect will vote on Nelson’s confirmation Wednesday.