Student body president resigns at A&M …Kolin Loveless will take over as campus leader

For the first time since 1977, Texas A&M University’s student body president has resigned.

Eric Beckham announced his decision to leave the elected post in an e-mail to students Tuesday.

Kolin Loveless, who was elected speaker of the student senate in April, will take over Beckham’s duties, as is called for in the Student Government Association’s constitution, officials said.

The e-mail offered no specific explanation for the resignation, saying only that Beckham had made the decision “after a great deal of reflection and thought” for “a variety of personal reasons.”

Beckham did not respond to multiple phone messages Tuesday. (See Beckham’s photo, election statement here.)

In the e-mail, Beckham expressed confidence in Loveless’ ability to effectively serve as student body president.

“With my resignation I reassure you that the idea of serving students will not fall through the gap,” he wrote.

In the e-mail, which was dated Tuesday, Beckham said his resignation had become effective Monday.

Loveless said he talked to Beckham about his resignation Monday.

“Obviously, it’s far from the circumstances I would like to have had,” Loveless said. “I never anticipated something like this happening.”

Loveless, a senior mechanical engineering major from Lubbock, said he was excited to take over as student body president and ready for the challenge. Taking the job will force him to make a few sacrifices, though.

He originally planned to graduate in May before attending graduate school in Saudi Arabia. With the added duties of president, he said, his graduation plans have been pushed back to August 2010.

“To me, though, that’s not a significant change,” he said. “It’s worth it. I’ve grown a lot as a student at A&M, and I’ll take every ounce of strength I have to give back.”

Beckham, a senior petroleum engineering major from Houston, was elected student body president in a runoff against Ben Debayle. The run-off was the largest in the school’s history, drawing 11,000 votes.

Beckham won with 57 percent of the vote.

“Obviously, it was a surprise to me along with everyone else,” Debayle said of Beckham’s announcement. “I wasn’t prepared to read an e-mail like that.”

There were no hard feelings between the candidates, Debayle said, and he offered Beckham his support immediately following the election.

He also said he had confidence in Loveless’ ability to take over.

“He already has a great executive council in place, and they’ve already started working on the goals that were set in place at the beginning of summer,” he said. “He’s going to do great.”

Classes for the fall semester begin Aug. 31.