Student Senate tackles key issues

Student Government Association Logo.
Photo courtesy: @famu_sga87 on Instagram.

The 53rd Student Senate met on Monday, January 22nd, at 6 p.m. addressing pressing matters and showcasing the active engagement of student leaders in shaping campus policies.

One of the notable highlights of the meeting involved Aja Waseem, a student who shared her experience of harassment by administration while promoting her podcast and networking with fellow students in the Top Café.

In response to this incident, Waseem collaborated with Senator Pro-Tempore Kobe Buggs to present SR24SP-004, titled “FAMU Student Entrepreneurs Deserve More.” The resolution aims to address concerns about the treatment of student entrepreneurs on campus. The resolution calls for a press release to be published on social media platforms advocating on behalf of Aja Waseem and all student entrepreneurs. The goal is to support the freedom of students to self-market their businesses and network positively with their peers in common areas like dining halls or residence halls.

“I just feel as a young-student entrepreneur at HBCU that my voice and other people’s voice should be amplified,” Waseem said as she spoke to the senate. “This is something that HBCU admin should support; networking and things of that such. The bill protects student entrepreneurs with being able to communicate, network, and market their business.”

The meeting also saw discussions regarding potential changes to the Recreational Center’s operating hours. The proposal to include the question “Should the Hansel Tookes Recreational Center be opened until 10 pm?” in the Spring 2024 ballot.

Additionally, considerations were made about implementing a recreational fee to cover the extended operating hours, which raised concern over possible increased tuition, which sparked a lively debate.

Former Senator, Elijah Hooks, who presented the questions explained that SGA would fund the extra hours of operation unless a fee was necessary to assist.

“All these [questions] are saying is that, this is what the ten thousand students of Florida A&M University wants. This has power, this has weight,” Hooks said. “The Board of Trustees seeing that students on the ballot said yes or no to a question – that keeps get people talking, gets people in action. If we wanted to include a Rec. fee after we got the yes, we would work then to include an A&S committee with individual student senators to determine what that Rec. fee would be and determine where we would process out. From there, after we follow local fees committee it will have to be approved by the SGA president who would then recommend it to the Board of Trustees.”

A final decision was not made regarding the questions being added to the Spring 2024 ballot, but the senate is willing to reconvene the topic at a later date.

A proposed referendum for the establishment of a student social center was put forth by Vice Chairwoman, Nichelle Scott. This initiative aims to create a dedicated space for students to gather, fostering a sense of community and enhancing social interactions on campus.

“I’ve talked to Dr. Hudson, Mr. Smith and President Mondelus about finding funds for this [social center]. The first steps would be trying to get the Rattler’s Den new furniture and open it to see if students would want to congregate in the first place,” Chairwoman Scott said.

The Student Senate also discussed the possibility of implementing a “House of Representatives” structure within the Senate. The referendum was proposed by Chairman Jaylin Strappy.

This structure would consist of 1-2 students from each college, serving as representatives to propose bills that would specifically benefit their respective schools. This proposed referendum reflects the Senate’s commitment to inclusivity and tailored representation for the diverse academic interests within the FAMU community.

“I know we [the student senate] have a lot of Political Science [majors] but we have no engineers,” Chairman Strappy said. “So that was the basis of why I wanted to add it, just to give every college an opportunity to advocate to not only congress in terms of the senate and the house of representatives.”

The annual FAMU Day at the Capitol is scheduled for February 21st. More information about this event and other upcoming activities can be found on the Student Senate website.

The Senate encourages students to stay informed and engaged in university affairs by checking the website regularly for updates and announcements.