Former ASI president Christian Landaverde says resignation was due to COVID-19 campus closure

‘I was approaching the lame duck months of the presidency’


Rahul Lal

Former ASI president Christian Landaverde and executive vice president Jennifer Gross resigned from their positions on March 13, 2020. Landaverde said he decided to step down due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down campus and his desire to focus on other opportunities.

Camryn Dadey and Michael Pacheco

Former Associated Students, Inc. president Christian Landaverde and executive vice president Jennifer Gross resigned March 13, 2020, both initially citing personal reasons and leaving with the remainder of the scholarship they received for their positions. 

Seven months later, Landaverde now said the cause of his resignation last school year was the COVID-19 pandemic and the campus closure occurring as his presidency term was coming to an end. Gross did not respond to requests for comment.

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Former ASI president Christian Landaverde said the COVID-19 campus closure at the end of his presidency shifted his focus towards his other career goals. Landaverde said he stepped down to study for his law school admissions test and spend time working on the Sacramento County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board. Photo by Tanner Landon.

“I more or less knew the campus was going in a direction of campus closure two weeks in advance,” Landaverde said. “That’s why when I put in my letter of resignation, it was dated for Friday, March 13, the day that the campus closed.”

Landaverde said he learned the campus would be closing due to the coronavirus pandemic while attending meetings with Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen and his cabinet.

Because the campus closure was occurring during what Landaverde referred to as the “lame duck months” of his presidency, with his term coming to an end and the next elected president preparing to assume the role, Landaverde said he chose to resign to reemphasize his focus on his other career opportunities.

“I’m a first-generation college student, so finishing my undergraduate degree is a big deal, and I really want to make my parents proud and pursue my postgraduate degree,” Landaverde said. “Of course it was a difficult decision, but to this day, I think I made the right choice.”

Landaverde said his upcoming Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in November was a major factor in his decision to resign, saying resignation was necessary in order to “be as competitive a candidate as possible.”

Landaverde said he met with Sandra Gallardo, ASI’s executive director, as well as his executive team to discuss his options before resigning. 

Gallardo said Landaverde issued his resignation to the board during a board meeting. Following the line of succession spelled out in ASI’s bylaws, Denisse Garcia, who was vice president of finance at the time, was subsequently sworn in and served as the ASI president following Landaverde’s resignation.

“I knew it was going to be in good hands if we followed the line of succession through Denisse,” Landaverde said. “I made her a transition report so she could know where to pick up from. She wasn’t being thrown into this position.”

Former ASI president Denisse Garcia did not respond for comment. 

Following their resignations, both Landaverde and Gross kept the scholarships they received for their positions at the beginning of that semester.

Reuben Greenwald, former director of student engagement and outreach, told The State Hornet last year that Landaverde’s scholarship was $19,183 and Gross’s scholarship was $16,442. These scholarships were dispersed in four payments, the final payment being approximately $4,795.75 to Landaverde and approximately $4,110.50 to Gross on Feb. 20, 2020 prior to their resignations. 

Noah Marty, current ASI president, said no changes in scholarship disbursement have been made since last semester.

“Since scholarships are something that are calculated into financial aid, we cannot take that money back once it has been disbursed. There were no new policies put in place after last semester,” Marty said via email. “If a resignation were to occur before a disbursement, then the board member would not be eligible for any of the future disbursements.

Currently, Landaverde serves on the Sacramento County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board,  a position he has held since March 2019.

“My role there is to serve as a liaison between what schools are up to and what the county is up to, as well as to help deliberate on some of the issues that are of importance to students and how the county can help,” Landaverde said.

Landaverde’s future plans are to work in public service and practice law, possibly as a United States district attorney.

“Will I ever run for office again? Maybe,” Landaverde said. “I’d like to be a congressman, but it depends where life takes me.”