UPDATE: Juwan Smith sent the following statement via email:
“I want to first thank each person inside SGA for their continued dedication and commitment to the prestigious organization. It's with sadness that I will be stepping down as SGA President this semester. Last semester was extremely difficult on me with my grandmother passing in the summer and her being a key stakeholder in my family it caused a great deal of stress and anxiety for me. With trying to balance school, work, organizations, and life I was in a very dark place mentally and physically. I believe it is best for me to step back and focus on myself this semester and graduating on time. I have informed both EVP DeMink and EVP Hadley on my decision and I have tremendous faith in them to lead this organization to a new level. I will still be around as a resource if needed. Dr Gassiot and McKenzie will be handling the next steps of the process and I want thank everyone again for everything you have done for me and this organization. Continue to use SGA as a resource and support the President in his strategic pillars on building a more inclusive environment for the students and Always remember FAMILY MATTERS!"
STATESBORO —Georgia Southern University's Student Government Association's President Juwan Smith resigned.
SGA had their first meeting of the semester Wednesday, announcing big changes in the administration. With Smith resigning, a new vote will be cast among the Senate body for president, the candidates being the two executive vice presidents of the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses.
Kahria Hadley, junior marketing and economics major, and Spencer DeMink, junior political science major, are the executive vice presidents of the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses respectively.
The candidates will need to have a two-thirds majority vote to win the election from the Senate body from each campus. It has yet to be announced when the votes will be held.
Hadley proposed to hold an open forum with lawyers to explain legal reasons behind the actions taken by the university after recent events like the book burning incident.
“About our book burning and racial situation on campus and all the blame and problems we’ve been having ... I really wanted to run [it] by you guys about bringing in other people from the outside,” Hadley said.
Hadley wants to bring in Maura Copeland, GS associate vice president for legal affairs, and lawyer Laura Marsh. Her intention is to hold an open forum for all to attend with other student organizations.
“Change the atmosphere on campus instead of just blaming one person would be a good idea,” Hadley said.
Graduate Student Organization President Marklem Hernandes, a graduate student in the Master of Education in Higher Education Administration program, proposed that SGA makes an official position for the GSO president in their administration.
Blakeley Bartee contributed to this article.
Ashton Christianson, The George-Anne News Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org