Student government president

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 powersEdit

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.[1]


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 presidentsEdit

Some former student government presidents have become notable at the national or even international level, for various reasons (e.g., political, social), such as:

United States ConstitutionEdit

The election of student government presidents are "public Acts" under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.

Famous presidential candidates for the student bodyEdit

Incidents involving student presidentsEdit

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.[5][6]

In May 2020, Raj Patel, former student government president of his Indiana high school from 2009-2010 and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia from 2013-2014, sued, on a pro se motion for permissive intervention, the President of the United States Donald J. Trump, in his presidential capacity, individual capacity, and campaign capacity, for stealing or Taking his verbatim word patterns (i.e. his intellectual property), use of a psychiatric stress weapon (i.e. battery via legislatively-approved psychiatric technology, see generally Title 42 of the United States Code), harm to reputation, unlawful surveillance, political sabotage, unlawful political succession planning, unjust use of force--violation of the Amendment XIII, unjust enrichment, civil Racketeering Influencing Corrupt Organization (R.I.C.O.), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. , causing a peril, and other claims. Patel graduated in the highest category of grade point averages with Honors at Emory University and is currently a law student who is on a voluntary separation of leave in good standing at the University of Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana. Patel accuses faculty and administration of the University of Notre Dame of aiding and abetting, especially in the enforcement of stress weapon. The federal case is pending in the Southern District of New York and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, on a motion of intervention in Doe et al. v. The Trump Corp. et al., No. 20-1706, Dkt. 37 (2d Cir. ___) and Doe et al. v. The Trump Corp. et al., No. 18-cv-09936, Dkts. 268 & 272 (S.D.N.Y. ____)[7]. On July 9, 2020, Patel filed a letter in Trump v. Vance, No. 1:19-cv-08694-VM (S.D.N.Y. ____), Dkt. 45, cert. granted, 591 U.S. ___ (2020) stating that he is looking through public documents to see relationships with Emory University and the University of Notre Dame.[8] On October 11, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed Patel's appeal on the S.D.N.Y.'s decision to deny his intervention. On October 12, 2020, Patel filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States. Doe v. The Trump Corp., No. 20-1706 (S.D.N.Y. ____), pending cert., No. ____ (U.S. ____). In other possibly related cases, Patel has sued Vice President Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb, and the United States.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ SG Salary Survey
  2. ^ U.S. Senator Sam Brownback - Biography
  3. ^ Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 583.
  4. ^ Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 636.
  5. ^ "The Morning News: Starbucks Launches Coffee Delivery, WWU Student Accused of Making Racist Threats Arrested". The Stranger. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  6. ^ "Bail set at $10,000 for WWU student accused of racist threats". The Seattle Times. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  7. ^ "Docket for Doe v. The Trump Corporation, 1:18-cv-09936 -". CourtListener. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  8. ^ "Docket for Trump v. Vance, Jr., 1:19-cv-08694 -". CourtListener. Retrieved 2020-09-23.