Former Speaker of the Senate Gabe Savage was sworn in as the newest Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president over a livestream on the USG Facebook page.
The president seat has been vacant since Truman Fritz’s resignation in early July, following claims of racial insensitivity on the @black_at_usc Instagram page.
Entering the new semester, USG faces several vacancies in its executive leadership.
With the president and vice president seats empty, the USG Constitution protocol calls for the speaker of the Senate to be promoted to the presidency and for the Senate to elect a new vice president and speaker of the senate among its members.
However, after former senator Isabel Washington resigned among claims of racism and classism, the Senate held only 11 members and would be unable to vote until they filled the 12th seat.
As a result, sophomore Shreya Chanda was sworn in as the organization’s newest senator during the Aug, 18. senate meeting. Based on voting totals from the USG election in Spring 2020, Chanda was next in line to succeed Washington.
After voting, the Senate elected Trinity Moore as the newest vice president and Ruben Romeo as the newest speaker of the Senate. Both were sworn in alongside Savage.
The rest of the executive cabinet quietly resigned prior to the start of the fall semester with the exception of Chief Communications Officer (CCO) Olivia Frary. Savage expressed the need for imminent communications in the middle of a pandemic, and that Frary will stay on board to run the department until further notice.
The significant leadership changes happening within USG has brought some negative attention to the organization, but Savage is optimistic.
“The image of USG is not great right now, and I would understand if somebody looks at that and says ‘I want to stay away from that,’” Savage said in an interview with Annenberg Media. “But, my hope is that when applications open, the people who see the change that’s necessary for USG, they step up and want to be a part of that process.”
Savage also said that USG will begin recruitment for the positions of chief of staff, chief programming officer, chief diversity officer and chief funding officer once the vacant Senate positions are filled.