New legislation may improve the election prospects of many Florida A&M students.
Senators Anthony Siders, a third-year political science student from New Orleans, and Marquise McMiller, a second-year political science student from Gary, Ind., proposed the bill to make restricted positions more open and accessible to the average FAMU student.
Within the 11 schools in Florida’s university system, the highest grade point average required for each university is 2.5 for any position, with the lowest being a 2.0. This makes FAMU’s GPA requirement the highest in the state.
“This is an example in its minimal form of taxation without representation,” said Siders.
He added that such a high GPA requirement should not serve as a barrier to students who are still obligated to pay tuition fees and A&S (activity and service) fees.
“This is not a great representation of our model, which is excellence with caring. It’s not exemplifying opportunity,” he said.
After participating in three elections on campus, Siders said he realizes that elections have turned more into a popularity contest instead of judging the merit of a candidate’s platform.
The senator said any student who is in good academic standing with the university should be qualified to serve with SGA.
“I believe that SGA itself does an injustice to the students when it sets up higher GPA requirements than what the university sets,” McMiller said.
According to McMiller, every major presidential ticket that ran last year for the positions of president and vice-president were disqualified because of the GPA constraint. The senator said this proves that SGA’s requirement does not represent the average FAMU student.
In an effort to provide documented facts for this claim, Siders and McMiller have requested data from the registrar’s office that will confirm the average student’s GPA in attempt to reform the criteria.
Student Relations Committee Chair Monet Fraser, a fourth-year public relations student from New Rochelle, N.Y., opposes the legislation. Fraser said having the current GPA requirement prevents students from losing focus.
“This legislation lowers our standards of leaders academically,” she said.
According to Siders, the student body shares the same sentiment on the issue. “Students feel that if they are average enough for SGA to spend their A&S fees, then they are average enough to serve in the positions that
will allow them to shift where those fees can go,” he said.
“SGA should follow the school’s GPA requirements instead of making their own. It seems as though they’re trying to weed out people,” said Reynald Blanchard, a fourth-year biology student from Miami.
McMiller is not certain the bill will pass, but if the bill fails, he plans to take it to the elections and appointments committee the following Thursday for review.
The legislation will also be taken to the Judicial Branch and then placed on the ballot as a referendum in February to give students the final decision. The final vote for the bill will be cast next Monday.