Tempers flared and students had to break up the “brawl in the hall” after Monday night’s weekly SGA Senate meeting.
Freshmen senator Chelsea Hall and junior senator Robert Clemmon were restrained as they got into a heated debate and shouting match in the hallway outside the senate chambers after the meeting.
Freshmen class president Torey Alston said the chaos outside the senate chambers was unprofessional.
“I was glad to see student leaders excited about politics,” Alston said, “but there is a problem when senators don’t conduct themselves in a professional manner in and after their meetings.”
The controversy sparked after the senate failed to confirm Jason Hurst, a senior business student from Illinois, as the new associate justice of the judicial branch.
Nineteen senators voted in favor of Hurst, while 5 were against and 5 abstained.
“I am disgusted by the senate’s decision, but not shocked,” Clemmon told the senate body.
If elected, Hurst would be an integral part of the decision process for the Larry O. Rivers’ appeal hearing, filed by the SGA presidential candidate after he was disqualified for violating election codes.
Clemmon, though not on the Elections and Appropriations Committee, exercised common senatorial practices by evaluating Hurst and granting him 57 points out of 58 possible points. It was the highest evaluation Hurst received, one that surpassed Hurst’s point average by 14 points.
Clemmon’s evaluation, however, was denied. As a result, Hurst was not approved because he only had 43 of the 45 points he needed for confirmation of the position.
Although Hurst received an unfavorable score from the E&A Committee, he was still allowed to go before the senate for confirmation of his appointment as associate justice.
“There was nothing in judicial documents that says that you have to have a favorable score in order to come up for confirmations,” said junior senator and E&A Chairperson Erin Barnes.
Clemmon said some of the questions directed at Hurst during the question-and-answer session of confirmation were “unnecessary in selecting an associate justice,” including Hall’s.
“If anybody has any questions about my comments, meet me outside in the hallway after the meeting,” Clemmon said.
Hall did just that, and the “brawl in the hall” was underway.
Hall said she did not vote for Hurst because she felt that he was not up to par to handle Rivers’ upcoming appeal hearing as an associate justice.
“We have a humongous trial approaching, a trial that will go down in FAMU history and be referred to by future administrations,” Hall said. “We don’t need to put just anybody in that position.”