Student Senate addresses delayed refunds

Photo of Senate meeting. Photo Courtesy: Christian Whitaker

It is now the seventh week of the semester and more than a couple hundred students have yet to receive financial aid. This week’s Student Senate meeting addressed the issue that is causing a great deal of difficulty for some students.

Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson Jr. and the staff of the Office of Financial Aid attended the senate meeting via zoom from inside the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication’s lecture hall. They gave a vital update on the status of the delayed payments and addressed questions from the affected students and senators.

“I want to sincerely apologize for any discomfort that students have had for this first semester,” Hudson said.

“We decided two years ago to upgrade our technology to the cloud utilizing Oracle student planning… it’s moving us forward to what a lot of other institutions are still antiquated, and actually we’re getting calls about what we’re doing from a lot of larger institutions like LSU, UCLA and some of the other institutions who also want to transition,” Hudson said. “In essence, we sort of have been the guinea pig, to say the least, for this new technology.”

In addition to the transition to cloud based technology, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act may have been another factor to the delayed payments.

“My team and I advocated to the president to use CARES Act funds for this physical year to assist students with financial assistance regardless of income,” Hudson said.

“Undenounced to me, by us doing that, I think that triggered some things within the system when we added approximately $41 million to the [cloud system] to help students,” Hudson said. “We’ve been in touch and meeting on a daily basis with Oracle to try to remedy some of the issues… and we’ve gotten it down.”

An emergency advance payment has been set up to help students who still have not received their aid and the book voucher program has been reopened until Oct. 15.

In addition, any late charges or cashiering holds will be removed through the waiver process.

The Senate used their additional meeting time to confirm a total of nine students for executive branch positions.

The students confirmed were Maurice Gilbert for Student Government Association Comptroller, Nyasia Haynes for Traffic Court Chief Justice, Shandia Wilson for Surgeon General, Asia Duncan for Deputy Surgeon General, Robert Tucker II for Deputy Secretary of Communications, Kiara Scott for Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs, Jeanine Tuffet for Deputy Secretary of Academic Affairs, Ramiah Raiford for Deputy Secretary of Athletic Affairs and Jhakya Dilworth for Deputy Secretary of Communications.

Each student confirmed tonight received a unanimous vote in favor of their position’s nomination from the senate, leaving absolutely no votes against any of the nine student nominees.

Also, senators passed a revision to the previous Strike Team Bill, SB21FA-004, which was vetoed and sent back to the senate by SGA President Carrington Whigham. The revised bill includes a line item that states that Strike Team members are not official members of SGA, unless elected or appointed.

Senator Joshua Clements shared his two most important takeaways from tonight’s meeting.

“Two of the most important things for me was confirmation, making sure we get the appropriate people to fill these positions within the judicial branch and the executive branch… and the second thing will be these bills,” said Clements. “These bills are stuck in stone… these are real documents that will be used throughout FAMU’s history… so it is important to know exactly what we are passing so we can effectively help the student body.”

The FAMU Student Senate is continuing to work hard on the behalf of the student body and the university.

There will be no senate meeting next week, Oct. 11,  in lieu of a training event for incoming senators. For more info on SGA senate meetings, visit