Elections are a critical part in determining the future of student life at Florida A&M University, and how the school operates on numerous issues and topics.
The Student Government Association is designed to be the bridge between the university’s administration and the student body on every level. SGA acts as the advocate for what the majority of the student body says it wants.
FAMU holds elections for critical positions within the student body, including positions on the royal court. Each spring candidates launch campaigns in an attempt to acquire the most votes so that they can be elected to their prospective positions. These campaigns are promoted through various channels such as multiple social media sites, flyers, in-person promotions and, occasionally, clever campaigns that venture into new realms of promotion.
However, despite the candidates’ efforts, the voter turnout is extremely low in comparison to the total number of students on campus. This is a consistent issue when it comes to voting.
“Every year you see a lot of students creating a huge fuss about what’s happening at campus, but yet a lot of [the students] don’t bother to vote,” Jared Beverly, a fourth-year psychology major from Laurel, Maryland, said.
Almost every college has issues that affect the campus as a whole that students feel should be addressed and rectified. However, attempting to fix these issues is often more complex than what may appear.
Many students believe the candidates who are campaigning for these positions aren’t doing so for the noble reasons that they are advertising, but for personal, ulterior motives.
“Many candidates win because of the popularity of specific candidates. That’s the game. That’s any election,” said Vaniah Cunningham, a business administration major. “I have never heard of them doing anything else for FAMU nor make appearances aside from campaign season.”
With many students holding this common feeling regarding elections at FAMU, it ultimately discourages students from participating in the voting process and leads to criticism of the effectiveness of SGA and those associated with it.
The two candidates vying for Mr. FAMU last spring received a combined total of 3,441 votes — just over one-third of the student body based on fall 2021 enrollment.
This past week the three candidates battling to be the next Mr. FAMU accumulated a total of 2,928 votes. In comparison to the most recent student body population of 9,100, it is clear only a small percentage of students attending FAMU participate in the annual elections. Fewer than one-third of the students cast ballots for Mr. FAMU last week.