Monday evening, more than 100 people at Florida A&M University filled the Student Government Association’s Senate chambers for the weekly meeting. Even with additional seating, more than 50 students, faculty and staff remained standing.
After announcing his candidacy for SGA President, Graduate Senator Marquise McMiller explained why so many people were in attendance.
“Students and their respective schools or colleges are here today to vocalize their request for special allocation funding,” McMiller said. He then added, “Special allocations are the equivalent to getting a grant from SGA for student activities such as travel or equipment.”
Senior Senator Gayla Barrett was stunned to see so many new faces at the meeting.
“On average, about 20 to 30 students excluding senators sit in the gallery and listen in on the meeting,” said Barrett.
Any registered student organization may request special allocation funds. After applying, those requesting funds will go before the Organization and Finance Committee (OFC) who vote for it to be sent to the entire senate. Organizations will then have the option to express to the senate why the funds are necessary. Afterwards, a 2/3 vote of the entire senate is needed to pass a finance. The process can take up to eight weeks.
“We’re at an HBCU and getting funding for a program is extremely difficult,” says Kwasi Densu, assistant professor of political science.
Representatives ranging from the Marching 100 to the Graduate Student Association came before the floor and spoke their needs for funding.
Candice Johnson, class president of the Student Physical Therapy Association said, “This money will be used for conferences, community service efforts in the community, and campus initiates for FAMU.”
According to McMiller, the current account holds around $300,000.
“The money is there for students use and therefore should be used for just that,” says McMiller.
One senator did not approve of the amount of time spent on student special allocation funds.
“Lobby and speakers took too long, we have business to take care of and giving people extensions over their set time is strange,” said Graduate Senator Gregory George.
Assuming the OFC votes in favor of the requests, they are looking to allocate a grand total of $67,000.00. The senate will vote at the next senate meeting to grant or deny organizations these funds.