The Student National Alumni Association and the 36th Student Senate formally announced their endorsement of presidential candidate James H. Ammons Wednesday afternoon during a press conference entitled Students for Ammons.
Student leaders and members of various campus organizations gathered on The Set to voice their concerns with the presidential selection process, which came to a close Thursday. During the conference, students showed their full support for the newly elected -but then undetermined – president.
“We are here to endorse the student’s candidate,” said William Miller, SNAA president.
Miller, a senior business administration student from Chicago, said the student body believes Ammons will be an exceptional leader for the University because of his qualifications, knowledge of and love for FAMU.
“(Ammons) has a stellar record from top to bottom,” Miller said. “He was highly respected while here as provost, and as an alum, he has a vested interest in the university.”
After researching all the candidates and conducting a survey among the student body, the Senate approved a resolution Jan. 29 to officially endorse Ammons.
“As student leaders, we decided that we should take a stance on an issue of this magnitude” said Sen. Anthony Murphy, a junior chemistry student from Milwaukee.
Like many students in attendance, Murphy said he believes the press conference was an act of solidarity and showed the public that the students are concerned with the University’s direction and presidential selection process.
“I think the conference was very informative and sent the message to the Board of Trustees that students are stake holders within the university,” Murphy said.
During the presentation of the occasion, Gregory Woodall, 21, a senior physics student from Atlanta, said two years was far too long for FAMU to go without a permanent president. Ammons is the only candidate that possesses the students desire in their long-term leader, he said.
Throughout the program, students approached the podium to highlight Ammons’s accomplishments as an alumnus and recipient of the FAMU Millennium Award.
Monique Gillum, Student Government Association vice president, was in attendance not as a SGA leader, but as a “concerned member of the student body” to endorse Ammons.Gillum said although she and Phillip B. Agnew, SGA president and BOT member, do not discuss the subject out of respect for Agnew’s position, she hopes the BOT’s vote will reflect whom the students want as president.
“Although the students were the last to outwardly give their support, it was bound to come,” said Gillum, a junior political science student from Gainesville. “I hope the board of trustees take heed to what was said today and go in with the mind frame of doing what is best for the stakeholders and put themselves aside because they are serving a greater purpose than themselves.”
After representatives from the official endorsers spoke on behalf of their organizations, Campus Activities Board chairman James Bland opened the floor to students to voice their opinions about the presidential selection process.
Most students said they would feel better if the university was lead by someone who had a long-standing relationship with the school and could relate to the situations FAMU students face. “I once heard James Ammons say something very profound,” said John Williams, a senior business administration student from Baconton, Ga. “He said ‘I owe FAMU.'”
Jarveal Baker, a sophomore accounting student from Winter Haven, said that since so many students are in support of Ammons, it would make sense for the BOT to choose Ammons. “I think it would be awkward for (the BOT) not to choose a different president because everyone is backing Ammons,” Baker said.
While some faculty members and students have expressed their support for other candidates, everyone in attendance during the press conference seemed to favor Ammons as the next president for FAMU.
“I’m definitely in support of Ammons,” said Vanessa Fortune, a freshman psychology student from Tallahassee. “FAMU does need to get back to where it was when Humphries was here. Being as though he was here during that time, I think he could get the job done.
“This conference showed that the students really support Ammons,” she continued. “If he is elected, the student body will be very happy.”