Senate hears Kirby on commencement change

Three vacant positions were filled at Monday’s senate meeting. Students also had an opportunity to voice their displeasure with the early start time of the spring commencement ceremonies.

Marissa Montgomery, a junior business student from Greenville, S.C., was unanimously approved as precinct supervisor. Joseph Prince, a senior business student from Lake Wales was approved as an associate justice. Gabrielle Albert, a graduating business student from Tampa, was appointed as a graduate senator, and sworn in by SGA Vice President Virgil Miller.

“I consider this an honor. Welcome to the senate.” said Miller, 22, a graduate student from West Palm Beach.

Henry Kirby, dean of students, came to the meeting to speak with the students about the early start of graduation.

Graduation is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on May 1.

“We do know that graduation is for the students, that is why we are here to get your opinion,” Kirby said. “Before, commencement exercises were held around 6 p.m. and there was a mass exodus of graduates, friends and relatives.”

Kirby also said that since the ceremony is outside, the Board of Trustees is trying to plan around the hottest part of the day.

“What we tried to do was establish a time when the elderly are not out in the sun,” he said. “In past years, graduation started at 8 a.m. and some of the elderly had problems with the heat.”

During an impromptu poll of the audience of roughly 60 people, all voted to push graduation back an hour to 8 a.m. Sen. Mike Morton thanked Kirby on behalf of the students.

“I commend you for coming up to the senate and getting our opinion,” Morton said.

In other business, the FAMU Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women came out to seek support for their drive to bring renowned poet and author Nikki Giovanni to the University. NCNW is requesting $10,000 from the Senate, which includes $7500 for Giovanni to speak, room and board and travel expenses.

Many people, including some who are not members of NCNW, spoke on their behalf.

“I think it is vital that we bring Nikki Giovanni to our illustrious and historic university,” said Freshmen Class President Phillip Agnew. “The senate should do whatever it can to make sure her message is heard by this university.”

Sabrina Davis, NCNW president, also voiced her opinion.

“Our mission is to benefit the campus, the community and ourselves,” Davis said. “Nikki Giovanni is considered to be one of our national treasures, we believe we will greatly benefit from having her on campus.”

The proposed date for Giovanni’s appearance is March 25 in Lee Hall Auditorium.

The Senate has yet to make a decision and will discuss at a later meeting whether they will provide financial assistance to NCNW.

Contact Kyle Hopewell at