Peak Sen Chua is going to be the next president of the GW Student Association.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally reached the conclusion of this tumultuous and drama-filled SA election season. On Tuesday, May 2, it is expected that EVP-elect Peak Sen Chua will be sworn in, and almost immediately will ascend to the SA presidency, succeeding the outgoing president, Erika Feinman.
The Senate voted tonight to pass the Transition Vacancies Act. The document helps pave the way for Peak to appoint cabinet officials, ensuring a smooth transition.
Picture from presentation during SA meeting on April 17
Current EVP Thomas Falcigno made it clear, however, that according to the governing documents of the SA, there will be no fall election. If this is the case, Peak's succession will be permanent.
Chua’s elevation finally settles the thorny issue of presidential succession, which was precipitated by Lande Watson’s exit from this year’s race. Following a number of complaints and a lengthy hearing, the Joint Elections Committee (JEC) removed Watson from the race, citing harassment and threatening of an opposing campaign.
Watson initially appealed the JEC’s decision to the Student Court, seeking an injunction to postpone the election until a more complete hearing could be held. The request was withdrawn following the postponement of the election, and the court dismissed the case.
The election was officially postponed until Fall 2017, in a constitutionally dubious move by the Division of Student Affairs in conjunction with the JEC.
By elevating Peak to the role of President, we avoid a constitutional crisis in the SA. Much more importantly, we avoid a crisis in student leadership. Students need the SA president to work with administrators during the summertime. The president and EVP are supposed to spend May to August planning a budget and developing programs that will help students when they come back in the fall.
"The SA must move forward," said Senator Arian Rubio, as he introduced the Transition Vacancies Act.
Past changes by SA presidents took a full year of planning, such as moving Student Health Services from K Street to the Marvin Center. Reforms like those would not have been possible had the university allowed drama and scandal to postpone those elections. Three full months without executive student leadership would have only been detrimental to the student body.
Luckily, we now have a man for the job - President Peak Sen Chua.
He stated, "It excites me that I have this opportunity to really help students at GW. It definitely did surprise me, but I've made it a priority for myself to be prepared for anything that comes my way." Peak's platform still revolves around supporting students, however he has now merged goals with other candidates. He wants to make sure that all voices are heard.
After a rather unconventional election season at GW, Peak hopes that students, "Know that your student leaders are constantly thinking about the impact that the SA has on their daily lives and that we have their best interests at heart."
This article was updated April 18 at 9:50 a.m. to add in commentary from Peak.