Letter to a columnist: GPA lowering justified

Spinnaker

Mr. Williams-

 

My name is Rob Byther and I currently serve as a senator in The University of North Florida’s Student Goverment. I am writing in response to your recent article in The Spinnaker, criticizing the Senate’s decision to lower the GPA requirement for Senators in Student Goverment. As a Senator who voted to lower the requirement, I feel as though it is important that I offer my reasoning behind my decision. I can assure you, and I speak on behalf of many of my fellow senators, that the motive behind lowering the requirement was not to “primarily benefit themselves” as you so eloquently stated in the article. It was to encourage more students to get involved in Student Government and enhance student’s awareness of Student Government. Your notion that we pass any legislation, let alone this bill, to “benefit ourselves” or “protect other Student Government members from being removed from office” is absurd and disrespectful to every Senator, and I will frankly not tolerate it.

 

While I agree with you that it is not a right to serve in Student Government, but rather a privilege, every student should have the right to pursue that privilege. That is a fundamental pillar in our democratic system. That everyone is entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Whether or not those students are elected or appointed to serve in Student Government is a different matter, but every student should have the right to pursue the opportunity to participate in Student Government. That is why I voted to lower the GPA requirement. I want as many people to get involved with Student Government, because I know how valuable such an experience can be, and I would hate to deny anyone that right, especially when The University distinguishes them as academically eligible. Who are we, as senators, to say what constitutes a respectable GPA? The University’s policy is that academic good standing is a 2.0. If someone is in good standing with The University, It would be pompous and conceited of us to deny anyone the wonderful opportunity and experience to participate in Student Government, especially when we are the ones who are passing legislation and spending their money.

 

Respectfully yours,
Senator Byther