Mr. FAMU unable to hold office until judicial ruling

Cyrah Hawkins, who was elected Mr. Florida A&M University last spring, will not be present at FAMU’s football game against Howard University Saturday because it is unknown whether he meets the grade point average requirement.

Kendra Rich, a fifth-year business administration student from Ocala and student body chief justice, issued Hawkins a temporary restraining order Monday. The order is in effect until the Student Government Association can obtain a copy of his academic standing from Nathaniel Holmes, the royal court adviser.

If they find he does not meet the requirement, he could face permanent removal from the royal court.

“This (temporary restraining order) prevented him from having public or private appearances in the capacity of Mr. FAMU,” said SGA President Ebony Ivory, 21, a fourth-year business administration student from Fort Lauderdale.

“It is a disservice to the university royal court and the student body as a whole that we didn’t have representation of a Mr. FAMU at one of the biggest recruitment fairs of the year,” Hawkins said. “As of right now, there is no Mr. FAMU.”

The issue began when Holmes gave Hawkins a letter that said after Holmes ran an eligibility check on the royal court in August, Hawkins did not meet the GPA requirement.

The letter stated that Hawkins’ current cumulative GPA fell below that which was required to hold his elected office.The letter cited Article VIII, Section 2 of the student body constitution, which stated, “Any person running for/holding an elected or appointed to officers must be an enrolled, registered full time student of FAMU and meet the following qualifications.”

Under subsection F, the constitution states Mr. and Miss FAMU must have a minimum GPA of 2.8 when he or she declares candidacy.

The letter also stated, “Effective immediately, your title and all rights pertaining to the role of Mr. Florida A&M University have been rescinded.”

Hawkins sent a rebuttal letter, which stated, “By no means does the adviser to the royal court, have the constitutional authority to remove myself, Mr. Florida A&M University, from an office that was elected by the students of Florida A&M University.”

Hawkins contested that the statues do not clearly state whether the GPA requirement was for the time of declaration of candidacy or for the duration of his reign as Mr. FAMU.The letter from Holmes was forwarded to Ivory. She then forwarded the letter to the student supreme court and requested an interpretation of the constitution from the judicial branch.

The judicial branch decided that “running for/holding” meant he must maintain a 2.8 GPA even though subsection F states, “2.8 at the time of declaration of candidacy.”

According to the interpretation, “If the proper grade point average document is presented, and Mr. Hawkins does not meet the requirement prescribed in the Student Body Statutes, the court will then issue a Writ of Injunction to legally enjoin Mr. Hawkins from any part as Mr. FAMU.”

The interpretation also said after a Writ of Injunction is issued, proper procedure for the dethroning of Mr. FAMU and the appropriate measures for installing the next Mr. FAMU will follow, unless otherwise appealed by Mr. Hawkins.

“Based on the outline in the student constitution and based on the information that has been presented to me, they have followed correct procedures,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Vincent June.

Hawkins is upset by the decisions that have been made thus far.

“Student rights and due process have been violated, and actions that have been taken toward me have been reflections of a dictatorship and not a democracy,” Hawkins said.

“I am in accordance with the student body constitution and system of student body statutes,” Hawkins said. “If I get a writ of injunction, then I will appeal.”

If Mr. FAMU becomes unable to serve, the runner-up from the spring election will fill the vacancy, according to the student body constitution Article VI, Section 5.

If the runner-up is unable or unwilling to serve, then a special election could be held if the senate approves with a two-thirds vote.

“I am very supportive of the royal court,” June said. “If something was wrong with the process, then we would have to review the process and make corrections.” He also said he has not received any complaints about the process.

“Under my leadership we will make sure that the advisers for the clubs and organizations have the necessary information they need to ensure that their members meet the eligibility requirements,” June said.

The student supreme court has yet to decide if Hawkins has met the eligibility requirements.