My name is Sidrena Renae Ruth and I’m currently a student actively enrolled at Florida A&M University. I am in my third-year at FAMU and I am graduating senior, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Pre-law. I entered Florida A&M University in 2001 with high expectations. Those expectations were to gain and obtain a privileged education, in which will establish me as a proficient and knowledgeable asset to my perspective career field. In addition, it was also my desire to be an academic participant of what is considered a superb institution. I am currently interning at the Public Defender’s Office and taking my last class in my major this summer. The FAMU Judicial Board has recommended and requested that I be suspended from school for the Fall 2004 and Spring 2005 semesters. This recommendation comes as a result of an incident that occurred on a Saturday, which was not on campus grounds nor affiliated with school activities. The alleged charges brought against me by Leon County Court were petty theft and crime resisting a store clerk. The Leon County Court disposed and dismissed of both, my case and my charges. I completed and complied with everything asked of me by the Court. The end result was the disposal of my case and no prosecution.
Upon receiving notice on this case, FAMU took further action. The University then picked up the charges and added assault and battery, and disorderly conduct offenses to my case. Considering this case is based upon the legislations outlined in the FANG, I’ve reviewed and researched rules and regulations of the University. I found that there is no specific code/rule/authority that gives FAMU the jurisdiction to pick up a non-prosecuted case by the Courts and add more charges to the previous offenses. Accordingly, the FANG outlines that FAMU should not merely punish a student if a Court has already done so, nor should they duplicate a student’s punishment by resurrecting a closed matter. Fairness in the matter will allow me to state as in the FANG that FAMU can very well punish a student for a serious crime i.e. a felony, or if it is determined that he or she poses to be a threat to the University. Famu Eidtors, as per my background report and the State of Tallahassee, Florida; I am no-Felon. Needless to say, Florida A&M believes I am a threat to the University. A student that has never had any problems with the law prior to this incident, a student that has never had a problem with her collegiate career prior to this incident, a student graduating one full year earlier than scheduled; who’s name has been scrolled on both the Honor Roll and Dean’s List before at this very same University… is very well a student that FAMU has considered to be an endangerment. Assumingly, it seems as though FAMU is misusing its power and making poor judgments in order to categorize a student of my stature an endangerment. Quite frankly, I can’t see how any well-educated being or an average person on the streets can honestly feel that a student with such magnitude is an endangerment to any scholastic institution. Now what I can see is a well-educated being or an average person acknowledging that I am a prominent student who has made a mistake and learned from it. Throughout life, I have to come realize and understand that the choices I make now will affect my future. The good choices reap rewards and accolades and the bad choices reap consequences, repercussions and regrets. When one walks the path of good decisions accumulated accolades take you to greatness and excellence-which is exemplified in our school motto. Taking into great consideration our school motto, “Excellence with caring.” I commend FAMU for being a concerned (caring) establishment when it comes to the well being (excellence) of their student-body. I do not appreciate the laws being exaggerated to the degree of categorizing me as an endangerment to the University. I would like to simply highlight the fact that, FAMU has not used our own motto in determining my recommendation. Fact is, I was wrong for taking a small purse and bracelets, which total worth was about thirty odd dollars from the Claire’s’ department store. Believe me when I say and know in my heart “I will never, ever do something like that again”. Indeed I have suffered humiliation and distortion of character from my family and my peers, as well as paid court fees and entered a ten-hour diversion program. Is further action really necessary? Maybe the answer to that is yes, and if so, the real question is, does the punishment fit the alleged crime? Those who know me can attest that I am not the type of endangering person FAMU would like to classify me as in this matter. I am not proud of my actions nor have any excuse for it. I am however glad I was caught; it has taught me that even petty offenses have crucial effects. I believe that because this was my first offense, GOD stopped me right in my steps before I could think about doing something like that again. In life mistakes are made, lessons are learned, experiences and knowledge is gained. This has to be the hardest mistake that I’ve had to recover from. I am not asking for any type of justification or sympathy. I simply believe that according to the laws of FAMU, and good judgment, I should not be suspended. Famu Editors, I am in desperate need of any type of help or some sense of directions. I have turned in my letter of appeal to the Dean of Student Affairs Office on Thursday 24,2004. Indeed I have tried diligently to speak with the administrative staff in the correct line of chain; yet I have received no type of concern or assistance. On Wednesday, I received a phone call from Ms. Barbara Jones, the President’s Secretary, in regards to my request to speak with President Gainous. Ms. Jones told me it was no need to meet with him, because President Gainous was going to support whatever decision the judicial board was recommending. Famu editors, I am an affirm believer in Administrative supporting one another… However take the time out to know what you are supporting and most importantly support what is right and fair. After receiving this phone call from Ms. Jones, it very well justified why the lower chain of Administrative staff conduct themselves in the poor manner that they do. My education and future is in great jeopardy. I don’t know if you all could be of any assistance; however, I will like for my fellow famuans to know what’s going on. Any advice would greatly be appreciated. Thank you for taking the time out to read this letter. My telephone number is (850) 322-9521 & my e-mail address is Judgeruth_182001@hotmail.com.