Student government president
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The student government president (sometimes called "student body president," "student council president" or "school president") is generally the highest-ranking officer of a student union. While a student government group and a class president are very similar to each other in some ways, the main difference between them is that while a class president represents a specific grade within the school, the student government president represents the school's entire student body (hence why they're sometimes called "student body president" or "school president").
Duties and powers
The authority and responsibility of Presidents vary according to their respective institutions. Students performing in this role typically serve a ceremonial and managerial purpose, as a spokesperson of the entire student body. The president may oversee his or her association's efforts on student activity events and planning, school policy support from students, budget allocation, fiscal planning, recognition of developing issues pertaining to students, and communication between faculty/staff and the student body.
Duties usually include working with students to resolve problems, informing school administration of ideas emanating from the student body, and managing the student government in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer.
In this role, they may make student appointments, campus-wide committees and boards, and may represent the institution to other associations or bodies. For example, the student government presidents within the University System of Georgia also serve on the statewide Student Advisory Council of Georgia.
Though supported by other officer positions (e.g. Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, etc.), a President is expected to gain knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and in most cases, Robert's Rules of Order.
In the United States, more than 70% of student government presidents are compensated.
Some schools vary in the powers for the president of their student governments, but many grant veto power to the individual over any act passed by the student senate/house of representatives at the collegiate level. Some student council constitutions and bylaws assign any powers not explicitly stated to the President.
The office holder typically serves one school year in most schools, but some may serve more than one term. Presidents, and sometimes their running mate, the Student Government Vice President, are generally elected via one of three methods:
- By a general election of the student body at-large
- By the student council, usually out of its own membership
- By the general student body, in elections held after the Student Council has been selected
In democratic student government, the Vice President generally succeeds to the position of President if the incumbent is unable to discharge his/her duties permanently, resigns, or is impeached by a student council or senate (in a manner similar to that of the United States Government).
Famous student government presidents
Some former student government presidents have become notable at the national or even international level, for various reasons (e.g., political, social), such as:
- Sam Brownback, Kansas State University
- Eve Carson, UNC
- Larry Craig, U of Idaho
- Richard Nixon
- Reince Priebus, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
- Ronald Reagan
- Robert Smith Vance, University of Alabama
- Hillary Clinton, Wellesley
- John Connally, Governor of Texas and friend of John F. Kennedy
- Lamar Alexander, U.S. Senator and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
- Bruce Maloch, Southern Arkansas University, Arkansas State Senator
- Chris Christie, University of Delaware
- Andrew Gillum, Florida A&M University, Mayor of Tallahassee and Democratic Candidate for Governor of Florida
- Ramon Alexander, Florida A&M University, Representative in the Florida House of Representatives
Famous presidential candidates for the student body
Incidents involving student presidents
In December 2015, the Slog and the Seattle Times reported that a Western Washington University student had been arrested and released on bail after calling for the lynching of the student body president of the university. The racist threats were posted on Yik Yak.
- American Student Government Association
- Massachusetts State Student Advisory Council
- Robert's Rules of Order
- School captain
- Student Advisory Council of Georgia
- Student council
- Union of Students in Ireland
- American Student Government Association
- K-State Student Governing Association
- NC State University Student Government
- Southern Polytechnic State University Student Government Association
- Texas A&M University Student Government Association
- University of Miami Student Government
- SG Salary Survey http://www.asgaonline.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=50B5B95D65A549939485AECEB5FFF00F&type=gen&mod=Core%20Pages&gid=46AA0269CCDB4D9FB291F27581A56562
- U.S. Senator Sam Brownback - Biography
- Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 583.
- Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 636.
- "The Morning News: Starbucks Launches Coffee Delivery, WWU Student Accused of Making Racist Threats Arrested". The Stranger. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- "Bail set at $10,000 for WWU student accused of racist threats". The Seattle Times. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2017-05-15.