The judicial branch of Florida A&M’s Student Government Association wants more responsibility. Associate Chief of the judicial branch Louis Jean-Baptiste questioned Monday the senate’s decision to reduce funding to $2,400, and complained that the judicial branch is overlooked, which in turn, he said, hurts students.
Speaking at the student senate’s first meeting Monday night, Baptiste argued that the allocation would be only enough to cover the annual Traffic Jam driver’s information forum scheduled for February 10. Baptist believes the judicial branch needs more financial support to better serve the student body.
“Students don’t know their rights,” Baptiste said. The judicial branch is used mostly for traffic court sessions.
When a student receives a ticket on campus, he/she can fight the fine with the help a student defense counselor by completing a form within five days of the ticket.
Baptiste said Chief Justice Chris Weaver belonged alongside SGA President Breyon Love, Vice President Troy Harris and Senate President Marissa West at December’s anti-hazing forum, because Weaver oversees any legal issues about FAMU issues.
Baptiste suggested several times that SGA needs to cooperate with the judicial branch, however, he recognizes that this isn’t a new problem.
Harris feels the same as Baptiste. “Checks and balances are extremely important in any professional operation,” said Harris. “Our job as a collective body is to serve the students. If that happens we all win. If not we lose. We’re triumvirate.”
Baptiste said he is actively searching for solutions. He hopes that the senate will vote on taking money and giving it to them, as a special allocation use to pay the defense counselors who not only meet weekly and represent students in traffic court, but go through training and process appeals during election season.