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Ni announces resignation from SA presidency

Solomon Ni speaks at Senate March 20, 2023. Ni announced his resignation from the Student Association presidency Jan. 22. Katherine Hui / Thresher

By Brandon Chen     1/23/24 9:17pm

Solomon Ni, the Student Association president, announced their resignation at the Student Association meeting Jan. 22 effective Jan. 29. Internal Vice President Alison Qiu will assume the role as SA president through the remainder of Ni’s term.

Ni read aloud from a written statement during Senate, citing mental health and the demands of the position as reasons for their resignation.

“Last semester was excruciatingly difficult for me and my health. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in the middle of the semester, and being in this position was not doing me any favors,” Ni said. “I pushed off my routine [and] pushed my wellbeing to the side, making sure I was going above and beyond what's expected of me and making sure we were doing our best for our community.

“Regardless of what I was feeling, I had an irrational obligation to see the position through,” he continued. “No person should ever be put in the position of deciding between taking care of themselves and their obligations to their community.”

As Ni opened the floor for questions, a few attendees spoke in support.

“It’s a very brave decision for you to make, so props to you,” Krish Kumar, Sid Richardson College senator, said.

“[Ni] is definitely leaving the Senate a better place than he found it,” Katelynn Porras, the Martel College president, later told the Thresher. “In terms of engagement on campus, I think … our agenda items have really made [it] into people’s minds, whereas maybe in past years, especially since I matriculated COVID year, no one really [cared].”

In an interview with the Thresher after Senate, Ni said their resignation is another example of how overworked and overwhelmed student leaders at Rice can be. 

“I think my word of advice to anyone who’s taking a student leader position, and just generally anyone who’s in the community who feels like they are struggling: Culture of Care means putting yourself first,” Ni said.

The role of Student Association president is “thankless,” he added.

“You get it from all sides: administrators, students, people in Senate. It does take a toll on you in terms of how you feel about yourself and your self-worth and validation,” Ni said. “If someone asked me, ‘Should I run for Student Association president?’ I would hesitate to give them an answer that is emphatically yes … I think a lot of the college presidents would also agree with me on that.”

Starting Jan. 29, Qiu, a Hanszen College junior, will take Ni’s place as SA president. Her term will end in March after February’s scheduled SA election.

“I think [Ni’s resignation] definitely inspires people to reflect on how they can balance their SA responsibilities with their mental health and their own commitments,” Qiu said. “He really cared about improving the Student Association and I hope that I can carry that forward.”

Looking back at their ten-month term, Ni said he appreciated working alongside the Executive Committee and what they were able to accomplish.

“I don’t necessarily think I have any regrets. I think that I regret that I didn't take care of myself … but I don’t have any regrets in terms of the position itself and taking it on,” Ni said. “I'm very grateful for the people that I met and the people that I’ve been able to work with … [and] I’m very hopeful about what they’re able to continue doing.”

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