Florida A&M Student Government Association President Anthony Siders has made the executive decision to proceed with the passing of the Party System bill in the student senate.
The Party System bill will enable any group of students to formally organize a student political party. The system is optional and open to the student body at large if they wish to join.
“I decided to write the Party System legislation to create the environment we discussed in my last answer,” Siders said. “Again, it will bring about a sense of real progress. The system demands progress. The Party system is optional for any student at large to join, but most importantly, it reduces the “underground” system of politics that has been occurring for years.”
For a group to be acknowledged as a political party, the group must go before the electoral commission at least 30 days prior to elections to become officially registered.
“The Executive Order is not an ‘overrule,’ its more of a strong suggestion,” Siders said.
He said the order will put the system in place and that the legislature will still have the ability to create guidelines for operations.
“I’m still open to debate and discussion,” Siders said.
The group’s constitution and bylaws must be presented to the coordinator of clubs and organizations at the time of registration.
After meeting preset requirements and gaining recognition by the office of student activities, the electoral commission will then recognize the group as a political party.
The party will be required to file its constitution, executive board and platform issues every year to the electoral commissioner by the close of declaration of candidacy during fall elections.
After the party chairman signs a legally binding statement of understanding with the electoral commissioner, stating that the party shall abide by the student body constitution, system of student body statutes and its own constitution and bylaws.
There can be no more than one nominated candidate per office election cycle, and the party chairman must submit signed copies of the slate of candidates in order for a candidate to be recognized as a party member on the ballot.
During election season, the members of the executive board are allowed to represent or appoint legal counsel to represent their candidates before any legal proceeding or inquiry.
Each party will be individually responsible for the preparation of their candidates for the election season. Any student seeking election may register as “Independent” if they do not wish to be associated with a party.
“This bill will create an atmosphere where commitment will be strong and accountability will be real,” Siders said. “When you form an opinion, announce initiatives, and stand on a platform as an organized party, the responsibility is real.”
Siders said the FAMU Student Government is a model of the National government and that the bill will benefit the students on campus.
Maurice Jackson, a senior accounting student from Miami, Fla., said the bill will “give the underdogs a chance to have their voice heard.”
“I think that the party system would be a positive move for the student body,” Jackson said. “This will allow our student election process on campus to run much smoother than in the past.”
Some FAMU senators look forward to the change in structure and are eager to take action.
“The Party System is a really exciting idea,” said Ki-Jana Harmon, a freshman psychology student from Tampa. “I’m excited to see how this will play out. As a current senator, I’ve been a part of the discussion in the chamber. Its real and its right, I’m ready.”
While many students want the bill to pass, some oppose it because of its vagueness.
“The bill is poorly written,” said Gregory George, a senior political science student from Miami and senate pro-temp. “There’s too much ambiguity and it should be reviewed by students before being passed.”
The bill has not been passed; however, Siders will continue to make efforts in hopes of doing so.