Senate votes to raise GPA requirement; students to vote

Nick Blank

 Graphic by Alice Maule
Graphic by Alice Maule

The Baker Bill (CR-16S-2926), which would restrict eligibility for Student Government to only those students with a 2.5 GPA or above,  remains the only confirmed item on the spring election ballot.

“There is still a chance for a plebiscite or another referendum,” said Election Commissioner Bradley Johnson. “But it’s unlikely.”

The Elections Policies and Procedures defines a plebiscite as “a nonbinding referendum on a proposed law, constitutional referendum, or significant public issue.”

Attorney General Dana Baker, a co-author of the bill, said it was time to raise the standard.

Baker presented the minimum student government GPAs of several Florida colleges. Only Florida State had a lower requirement than a 2.5.

UNF Student Government members’ GPAs are an average of 3.16. Baker said that with the new rules only two incoming Senators would be disqualified.

The resolution passed in the Senate with 82 percent of the vote, but some members had conflicting opinions about the bill.

“GPA should not decide who gets in. Because the organization is already lacking students’ interest, why should we make it harder for them to join?,” said Senator Muhammad Ali Awan.

“If you cannot maintain a 2.5 GPA you should not be in Student Government,” said Senator Patrick Saathoff.

Baker argued against comments that raising the GPA would make the SG seem elite or difficult to join. Baker said that 2.5 was a “happy medium” considering that good standing with the University is 2.0 and honors program minimum GPA is 3.0.

“Students must be held to a higher standard and put their studies first,” Baker said.

The bill is a constitutional referendum, meaning that students must vote to pass it.

If the measure is approved by the student body, the GPA changes would be enforced beginning fall 2016 and Senators would not be eligible to run in elections with GPAs lower than a 2.5.

 

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