Initiative Summary Report: Civil Rights Advocacy
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Author: Fabian Valentin
Following a series of officer-involved shootings of unarmed Black individuals, the Florida State University Student Government Association, under the leadership of Student Body President Jonathan Levin, Student Body Vice President Natassia Janvier, and Student Body Treasurer Christian Hall, proposed five initiatives to promote racial justice in a letter addressed to the student body and community. Torchlight uses evidence to assess the execution of SGA initiatives. Director of Policy Analysis Jaylen Darling evaluated the completion of the following:
Statement by Administration: “We are planning a community vigil including students from FSU, FAMU, and TCC, and members of the Tallahassee community to remember and mourn the lives lost.”
Metric: Date of the vigil has been determined and the event occurs.
Evidence: A community vigil remembering Tony McDade, Mychael Johnson, Jamee Johnson, and other victims was led by Student Body Vice President Janvier. The vigil took place on Saturday, June 6th at 6:00pm via the Tallahassee NAACP Facebook Live and included prayer, song, dance, and spoken word poetry. FSU SGA’s post regarding the vigil is available here.
Serving as a Liaison between the Tallahassee Police Department and the FSU Police Department
Statement by Administration: “We have spoken to FSU’s Administration about serving as a liaison between the Tallahassee and FSU Police Department to have a sit-down discussion so we can express concerns, get answers, and mandate a plan to move forward.”
Metric: Evidence of a meeting with SGA, representatives from the Tallahassee Police Department and FSU Police Department.
Evidence: In a Zoom meeting, the Student Body President, Student Body Vice President, and Student Body Treasurer met with city officials including Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell and FSU Deputy Police Chief Terri Brown. In this video conference, Vice President Janvier shares requests from students which include diversity training for TPD, FSUPD and FAMUPD. Student Body Treasurer Hall wrote a letter synopsizing this meeting among other topics.
Conversations with Mayor John Dailey
Statement by Administration: “We have reached out to the Mayor John Dailey’s office to start conversations to ensure students are represented as members of our Tallahassee community.”
Metric: Evidence of correspondence between the Executive Branch and the Mayor of Tallahassee regarding the student body.
Evidence: Following the aforementioned Zoom meeting held with local officials, the SGA Executive Board sent a letter to the mayor and chief of police which was posted on SGA's Instagram.
Community Discussion with Student Leaders of Diverse Backgrounds
Statement by Administration: “We will be coordinating with diverse student leaders from across campus to actively engage in discussion and to truthfully analyze this topic from multiple viewpoints.”
Metric: Evidence of discussion between student leaders from diverse backgrounds and SGA.
Evidence: During the Zoom meeting with President Thrasher, Mayor Dailey, the SGA Executive Board, and local officials, student leaders asked questions, voiced concerns, and advocated policies. Student Body President Levin and Student Body Treasurer Hall confirmed to be present at the player-led Unity Walk organized by the Florida State football program. The administration’s post regarding this event can be found here.
Statement by Administration: “We have and will continue to support and advocate fundraising opportunities for those directly affected by these deaths and local minority businesses in the Tallahassee community.”
Metric: Evidence of SGA supporting fundraising opportunities.
Evidence: In a meeting between Torchlight and the Executive Branch, Student Body Vice President Janvier shared a fundraising opportunity. In addition to the vigil for Tony McDade, SGA supported the NAACP for a GoFundMe campaign. They also requested the FSU Administration to support the campaign by sending it out to faculty and staff to augment fundraising efforts.
The Levin-Janvier-Hall administration accomplished its five initiatives. Torchlight applauds the Executive Branch for its advocacy of racial justice on campus and in our community. We hope SGA continues to facilitate the difficult but necessary conversation about racial justice. Racism pervades all aspects of life, including higher education and student public policy. Black Lives Matter. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.