Second Year Council President Ahmad Shawwal will be stepping down from his position for the upcoming fall semester.
Citing personal circumstances, Shawwal said he will be taking the semester off from the University and SYC Vice President Floyd Black will assume the presidency in Shawwal’s absence, pending a vote by members of the council.
“Floyd and I have been discussing what things will look like in the fall in my absence,” Shawwal said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily.
Shawwal announced his decision Sunday afternoon in an email to the Class of 2019.
“During these past few weeks, I have encountered some personal and family circumstances that have affected me greatly,” Shawwal wrote. “During this period, I was reminded that great leadership starts with looking after one’s own health and wellbeing, so that you can be there for others. I have reflected on what would be best for my wellbeing, and after speaking with advisors, I have decided to take the fall semester off from U.Va.”
Shawwal, a second-year Engineering student, previously served as president of the First Year Council and was elected Second Year Council president in February after competing in one of the most contested elections of the spring.
Shawwal pointed to Article V, Section 5 of the SYC constitution, which stipulates that “if the president is deemed incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office of the president by a two-thirds vote of the council body, the executive vice president shall assume the title and duties of the president.”
The newly confirmed president will then nominate a member of the Second Year Council to serve as the new vice president who will then need to be confirmed by a two-thirds vote.
Shawwal said they are focused on making sure his absence has a minimal impact on the council’s operations and he expects Black will have a successful transition.
“He’s a great guy, he’s a great leader, probably one of the most humble people I’ve met on Grounds,” Shawwal said. “He’s going to do well in the fall.”
Black said he is preparing to step into the new position and is confident that it will be a smooth transition.
“I’m taking it seriously,” Black said. “We’re going to have a good year.”
In terms of goals, Black said he wants to work on bringing students together and creating inclusive SYC-sponsored events.
“It can be hard to attract people to events, especially during second year because we’re not all in dorms, everybody is everywhere,” Black said. “We’re basically trying to reach as many people as we can, especially the underrepresented groups who usually don’t go to these events.”
Shawwal also noted increasing diversity on SYC has been a common goal between him and Black.
“We have the same idea, the same vision for what council should do and how we should execute those things,” Shawwal said.
They have been successful in attracting a diverse group of students to the 63-member organization, Shawwal said.
“If you look at our Second Year Council, we have so many different countries represented, we have people from all across the world,” Shawwal said. “Their expertise and vision brings a lot to [the] council.”
Shawwal also said he hopes to see more of a focus on creating a sense of community for transfer students to the University.
Black will nominate his vice president at a future date.
What the leadership structure of the SYC will look like upon Shawwal’s return in the spring semester of 2017 is yet to be determined.