Election season is underway and the grade point averages of student senators, attendants and royal court members are being called into question.
If they do not meet the academic requirements, these students cause lose their positions, with no exceptions.
Most elected officials are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA. Those who hold the highest leadership positions including SGA President and Vice President, Mr. and Mrs. FAMU and Senate President, must maintain a 2.8 GPA.
Mr. Florida A&M 2010-2011 Joseph Agboola said he has heard complaints from fellow student and said it is time to hold leaders accountable.
“If I have to hold the standard 2.8, then every other leader should have to do the same. The minimum for most positions is a 2.5. If you don’t have a 2.5 then what are you doing,” said Agboola. “You shouldn’t be in student government. You should be focusing on school. I’m not trying to call anyone out. It’s just a matter of being accountable.”
Agboola recalled an incident from the 2008-2009 academic year when the King of Orange and Green-elect Jeremy Becks was removed because he failed to meet the requirements for his position.
Though the specific reason for his removal was never disclosed, some speculate it was because of a faltering GPA.
It is a violation of the Federal Education Rights of Privacy Act to disclose exactly which students fail to meet academic requirements.
A few other members in SGA were contacted about the situation, but were not willing to speak.
“We can’t pick and choose when to do what’s right. That’s what’s wrong with SGA. If you don’t have the GPA you don’t need to be in leadership, point blank, period,” said Agboola. “A lot of times students function within different organizations and have below a 2.0. Who’s holding them accountable?”
“A leader is someone who gets others to follow behind them. When you sign on, you know what you’re getting into. I really don’t have any sympathy.”
Failure to meet the minimum GPA requirements is only one of the factors that can cause a student to lose position.
A student must also be enrolled a minimum of 12 hours and have a clean disciplinary record.
Associate Dean of Student Activities Henry Kirby said this issue resurfaces every election season, but that this is only a problem for a small segment of student government.
“It’s common for people to toss around ideas about who does and who doesn’t have the grades. Every election we must check the GPAs,” said Kirby.
“We give students every opportunity to let their supporters know (that they do not meet the requirements) in their own way. You hope that they would remove themselves voluntarily.”
Kirby has worked in the education system for over 30 years and said he has never had to forcibly remove a student who did not meet the requirements, but has a zero tolerance policy and would not hesitate to do so.
Kambria Haire, a first year graduate student from Tallahassee, said there are no excuses for any student, let alone elected officials, for allowing their GPA to fall below a 2.5.
“I don’t think you should be able to run for a position or maintain your office. A requirement is just that: something you have to have. You’re a student leader,” said Haire.
Dex Valcin, a first year music education student from Boynton Beach agreed with Haire, but said there should be a forgiveness period, similar to the one allowed for scholarship recipients.
“On one hand, you definitely have to have the grades to be in a position. How can you tell people how they should behave in an academic setting when you don’t hold yourself to the same standard,” said Valcin. “But things do come up. You should give them a chance to get their grades back up.”