The last of a long list of ballot questions facing Florida voters would change how the student member of the Florida Board of Governors is chosen.
Amendment 12 would create a new council of student body presidents who would elect the student member of the Florida Board of Governors.
Currently the student member is chosen by the Florida Student Association — a private, non-profit organization of elected student body leaders.
So what’s the difference?
Supporters of Amendment 12 are concerned that the Florida Student Association has charged dues to join. Florida State University was the biggest school which in the past has chosen not to participate with the Florida Student Association because of the dues.
Lawmakers said the dues made it seem like, in the words of Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Student Association was a “pay-to-play” organization. In response, the Florida Student Association has waived its membership dues so the organization is open to students of every school.
New College of Florida student Michael Long says the FSA serves as an advocacy group for student issues.
“This council has the exact representation as the Florida Student Association, but many of the benefits of the Florida Student Association are gone, so we can no longer hold our representatives responsible,” Long told The Miami Herald.
While the change has been proposed in the past, some noted the push this year came after Long questioned a powerful state senator about creating a 12th state university at a Board of Trustees meeting. Long said that budget chairman JD Alexander threatened university funding of those who opposed creating Florida Polytechnic University.
Some students are supporting the change to ensure their school has a shot at selecting the student member of the Florida Board of Governors. However, newspaper editorials have urged voters to reject Amendment 12, while the League of Women Voters is encouraging voters to reject all 11 proposed amendments this year.
A ‘Yes’ vote would create a new council of university student body presidents which would select the student member of the Florida Board of Governors.
A ‘No’ vote would maintain the current selection process.