Florida A&M University’s Student Government Association President Virgil Miller and Vice President Keneshia Grant gave students the opportunity to discuss different issues on campus at “R.E.E.L. Talk” Tuesday.
Grant said she and Miller came up with the idea for these talks so they could get feedback from students about the matters that affect their every day lives.
Although Perry Paige Auditorium was far from being full, students that were in attendance were able to get answers to their questions.
When Miller was asked about the lack of participation from the student body he said, “We do advertise on the radio, in the newspaper and flyers. I know students are concerned with issues.”
“I would like for it to be much greater than this, but regardless if students attend or not, their voice will be heard.”
Grant, a fourth-year political science student, welcomed everyone that was in attendance and explained the facts of the Sept. 28 FAMU Board of Trustees meeting.
“A lot of people have had questions about his (President Fred Gainous’) leadership,” Grant said.
Grant went on to say that many students were constantly coming up to her and Miller about their concerns with the leadership of the University.
“We would hear complaints of the students first hand,” Grant said.
Junior Sen. Torey Alston asked Miller how he made the decision regarding President Gainous.
“I sat down personally to look at the pros and cons of his leadership,” Miller said.
“Whatever actions we (the Trustees) took, we had to have the students’ interest at heart.”
Some of the other issues that students asked about were if there would be a new president and how that person would be chosen.
Miller said a committee has been formed to select a new interim president if Gainous does not gain the unanimous vote needed for him to renew his contract.
Miller continued to emphasize that Gainous could possibly continue to be the president.
“I am not saying that the vote will not happen. We just want to have a plan, if there is not an unanimous vote,” Miller said.
“We’re looking for a president that can set things right and move things forward.”
Miller addressed rumors circulating about former Pharmacy Dean Henry Lewis possibly becoming the president of the University.
“I have not heard about this, but anything is possible,” Miller said.
Miller also said BOT members are planning to attend a retreat in March to outline their responsibilities and to improve their strengths.
“We are having the retreat in March because four members are up for new appointment, and if we have new members, we want to give them a chance to go to the retreat,” Miller explained. Another subject of concern was housing and the future living arrangements for incoming students.
“There is a 10-year study in place to improve housing on campus,” Miller said.
There have been talks of destroying Polkinghorne Village and building a Phase 4 and 5 of the Palmetto Street Apartments.
“We are two meetings away from choosing the proper financing plan,” Miller said.
Through it all, Miller continued to stress that the students are first.
When asked if the alumni have first choice over the decisions made in the school, Miller replied, “First are students, second is the faculty and third is the alumni.”
Miller added, “If an alumnus has an issue, it is my job to listen.”
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