Debate on students being elected for escorts

Should students be able to elect escorts for the royal court? 

That question caused a heated discussion during Monday night's Student Senate meeting. 

Trenton Kirksey, 20, a junior music student from Houston, proposed the bill. If passed, it will be an amendment to the constitution. 

Kirksey said the current system works fine but does not best serve the student body.

"The senators are more concerned with the voice of the in-crowd versus the feelings of the student body," said Kirksey, assistant to SGA President Gallop Franklin. 

According to the Royal Court Constitution, Mr. and Miss FAMU, a representative from SGA and the royal court adviser, select the five royal escorts. 

"I want the student body to have a voice," Kirksey said. 

Henry Kirby, associate vice president and dean of students, said the court serves the student body and their respective classes because their peers elect them. 

Escorts submit an application, interview with the panel, exhibit chivalry and have at least a 2.5 GPA.

Anthony Siders, 19, a sophomore political science student from New Orleans, supports students electing escorts.

"I believe we need a representation of each academic classification," said Siders, chairman of the Organization and Finance Committee.

The duties of the escorts include following instructions of Mr. FAMU and royal court adviser and assisting Mr. FAMU with his chosen community service project.

Miss FAMU, Kindall "Sunshine" Johnson read a letter addressed to the Student Senate on behalf of current and former members of the royal court. 

"We believe the royal court has been successful in its purpose of recruitment and positive university representation due to its current structure and balance," the letter stated. 

Advisers support, train and prepare the escorts and attendants for the duties.

Allyson McNealy, royal court adviser, refused to comment.

"Advisers are not in a position to select escorts, but we can recommend them," said Edward Willis, royal court co-adviser.

Willis said it is not unusual for certain positions to be selected or elected. He explained that it is no different than how the president selects his vice president.

"Balance and harmony are the formula to a successful royal court," Johnson said. 

Monday the Student Senate is expected to vote on the bill at 6:30 p.m. in the Office of Student Activities.