After much debate, the Student Senate confirmed Chris Griffin as Director Of Student Lobbying Monday night. The senate voted 22-7 in favor of Griffin.
Griffin, a third year political science student from Sacramento, Calif., came before the Senate seeking confirmation for the second time in a month. Griffin was declined in his first appearance before the Senate two weeks ago.
Last week, Sen. Ramon Alexander made a motion to waive the rule of opportunity allowing Griffin to reappear Monday. The rule of opportunity states that the senate student must allow candidates to revisit the senate within a two-week period of initial denial.
On Nov. 3 several senators said they voted against Griffin because of his lack of knowledge regarding Florida legislative committees, state education boards and principal officials in the state.
On Monday, Griffin stumbled when asked to name university student government presidents in Florida. He named several out-of-state SGA presidents, but could not name any in Florida. He was also unable to propose initiatives different from those he discussed in his first appearance.
The Director Of Student Lobbying, a job formerly held by SGA President Larry O. Rivers, is expected to be extremely familiar with Florida state legislation effecting FAMU. In addition, the director is required to speak on behalf of the student body in many instances.
Throughout the confirmation Monday, a number of senators asked questions of Griffin to determine if he had researched information in which he previously stumbled over. Following such questions, Griffin was also asked about potential initiatives he would put into practice.
Griffin discussed the possibility of town hall meetings, on-campus voter registration, and a possible FAMU visit by 2004 Presidential candidates. Following the Senate’s questioning, the floor was opened to senators to express their support or opposition to Griffin’s confirmation. Sen. Ramon Alexander and Sen. Ryan Morand began by strongly supporting Griffin’s confirmation and commending him for his rededication. Proponents of Griffin called attention to his willingness to research what he didn’t know during his first appearance. Other senators did not share this view.
Sen. Kahlila Alexander said that an official holding the position must have a vast understanding of not only policy, but application as well. Alexander said “memorization isn’t enough.”
Other senators called attention to, what they considered, Griffin’s lack of leadership skills. Sen. Erin Barnes questioned whether Griffin would be able to “lead without an understanding of applications of policy.”
After several senators continued with their remarks of opposition, Morand came before his colleagues again in an attempt to dispel allegations of Griffin’s lack of political understanding.
“Base your judgment on determination and not memorization,” Morand said.
Sen. Robert Clemmons suggested that those in opposition of his confirmation work with Griffin to assure his success.
In response to Clemmons’ suggestion, Sen. Tara Crawford said,” We shouldn’t have to spoon-feed people.”
Following his confirmation, Griffin was visibly relieved and pleased with his appointment.
“‘Now I’m going to apply my knowledge to lobby for FAMU,” Griffin said after the meeting.
Steven Jumper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org