Do you remember the 2000 presidential election and how it felt being out of the loop? Do you remember how you felt about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 partisan decision determining the course of the next four years?
Do you remember how the events led to an extreme feeling of insignificance, frustration and cynicism for the majority of American voters who saw their popularly preferred candidate lose.
Ultimately, this event translated to a fundamental breakdown of our nation’s cherished principles of democracy and fair representation.
This issue is relevant because we may be witnessing a similar chain of events occurring on FAMU’s campus.
Currently, there is a petition circulating promoting Interim President Henry Lewis III to be added to the list of presidential candidates.
The issue here does not concern leadership ability or Lewis’ qualifications.
The issue is the method of communication that the participating leadership of the “Leading Light Administration” has chosen to present this matter to us, the student body.
Before last week, did the Leading Light put forth a credible effort to notify students regarding the various actions on the presidential selection?
Was there really a credible effort to notify us of the various consultant visits, meetings and, most importantly, the role that we should played in the process? This leads to the question of what type of student leadership do we currently have on campus.
In any democratic society it is important that the elected leadership conveys the wishes of its constituency. However, when our current leadership moved without our knowledge, input and consent, we became locked into a course of action that may not be the most effective or beneficial.
Apparently, the administration has decided our course of action for us without properly gathering our input and consent.
Accordingly, the Leading Light has brought forth the issue of inconsistency. If this is a matter of principle, then why wasn’t the aforementioned petition circulated before we even had an interim president?
Instead of circulating surveys asking if we know who the current Student Government Association vice president is, there should have been surveys asking what the students want in their new university president.
The SGA president has a significant voice and vote on the Board of Trustees, because he is supposed to represent us. If we were consulted effectively, then not only would his voice have gained strength, but he could also have persuaded the other trustees more effectively.
However, since we were not tapped effectively, we have now been forced into a reactionary position rather than seizing the initiative. This translates into ineffective leadership.
Given this combination of ineffective communication and reactive leadership, we Famuans have now found ourselves aggressively pursued by our student government – right before the elections – for our support on a matter that should have been addressed long ago.
We have not been fairly represented and instead of us using student government as our vehicle to determine our course of action, they have in turn, hijacked our interests by forcing us to support an initiative for which we were never even consulted.
Juresha Maples, 20, is a junior civil engineering student from Los Angeles.