Peter Nguyen was ASUCD President from 1995-96 and is the Chief Executive who ushered in the modern era of ASUCD by co-authoring, with ASUCD Vice President Aaron Bloom, the Democracy at Davis constitutional amendment which modeled the ASUCD government after the tripartite U.S. Federal Government. The previous Executive Council form of government closely resembled a weak-mayor city council system in which the president could consistently be out-voted by a majority of the council.
Prior to serving as President, Nguyen held several ASUCD and campus leadership positions, including: Internal Affairs Commission Chair (1993-95), Assistant Director of Academic Affairs (1993-95), Co-Chair of the Davis Young Democrats (1994-95), and ASUCD representative on numerous Academic Senate and Chancellor's Advisory Committees (1992-96). He received the ASUCD Student Prize in 1995 and was awarded the ASUCD Outstanding Service Award in 1996.
Nguyen and running mate Julio Hernandez lost in a runoff election in 1994 to eventual winners Andrew Donnell and Melissa Diehl, both of whom endorsed him the following year. He was also elected to the Executive Council (predecessor to the ASUCD Senate) in Fall 1993, but turned down the short seat (to fill a vacancy), preferring to remain Chair of the Internal Affairs Commission.
Nguyen was the first presidential candidate to form a progressive slate in response to the then-dominant Davis College Republican slate which controlled a majority of the 9 Executive Council seats starting in the winter of 1993. In addition to winning the executive branch in Winter 1995, his slate won a plurality of the newly-formed 10-member (later to be 12-member) ASUCD Senate. The same progressive slate, which included Maya Kwiat, Erica Rios, Brett Leggett, and Jason Capitan, also won a majority of seats in the Fall 1995 Senate elections. Nguyen also delivered on a major campaign promise by championing the UCSA Affiliation Act which, which restored ASUCD's membership in the University of California Student Association (UCSA). It passed in Fall 1995 by more than a 2/3 majority vote.
Significantly, Nguyen was the first ASUCD President since at least 1990 to refuse membership in the secret society Sword and Sandals. He was also one of the few student leaders to publicly oppose student self-taxation in support of basic programs such as Intercollegiate Athletics and the Student Health Center, arguing instead, that these should be funded properly by Student Affairs. Nguyen campaigned against the Student Services Maintenance Fee (SSMF) in 1993 and did not support the Student Activities and Services Initiative (SASI) Fee proposed 2 years later, which permanently extended the SSMF with built-in increases which did not require a future student vote.
Nguyen is believed to be the first Vietnamese-American Student Body President at any UC campus, and he was an active opponent of UC Regents resolutions SP-1 and SP-2 which banned Affirmative Action in admissions, hiring, and contracting throughout the University. After graduating from UC Davis, Nguyen earned a degree from UCLA Law School, serving as Student Bar Association President from 1997-98.