Several senators walked out of Wednesday night’s Senate meeting in support of a bill proposed by junior Senator Torey Alston, vice chair of the elections and appointments committee, which was not reviewed.
At the selected time for Alston’s bill to be reviewed, Senate President Ramon Alexander announced that the bill would not be discussed because it had been denied twice, which violates the rules of the Senate.
The bill Alston proposed in November and composed with freshman Sen. Vandoline Ivy allows students to speak during Senate meetings.
Ivy, 18, a business administration student from Lakeland, said she created the bill with Alston last semester to “enable students to have a more interactive experience during senate meetings.”
Senior Sen. Ranaldo Allen formally requested minutes from the meeting when the bill was introduced to prove that the bill had only been denied once, but Alexander did not grant his request.
Following Allen’s request, Alston and several other senators walked out of the meeting in protest, because they believed Alston was treated unjustly and that the bill should have been reviewed.
The absence of the protesting senators affected the progression of the meeting, because a certain amount of senators must be present, known as quorum, in order for business in senate meetings to occur.
Alexander, 20, said that he recommended for the judicial and rules committee, which interprets the laws, to review the bill and make sure proper action is taken.
“I will support the decision of the J&R committee, because I am here to advocate diplomacy and make sure that the situation is solved to successfully serve the interests of the students,” said Alexander, a third year political science student from Tallahassee.
Alston, 20, a third-year business administration student from Fort Lauderdale, said due to the lack of the majority of senators, he voted the bill down last semester to allow all senators to vote later and he did revise certain parts of the bill for reconsideration this semester.
Alston also said he was baffled during Wednesday’s meeting, because the Senate president had the bill beforehand and did not tell Alston it would not be reviewed until it was announced, publicly, at the meeting.
“[Wednesday], there was an attack against me and I thought that it was unprofessional and wrong,” Alston said.
J&R committee chairperson Keon Hardemon, 21, a business administration student from Miami said the bill is dangerous, because it allows students to have input when the Senate is taking care of business and senate leaders have no jurisdiction over students to make sure they follow the rules.
Although the walkout impeded the progress of Wednesday’s meeting, Alston said that was not his goal.
“I was not trying to stop progress on the Senate floor, but I wanted to send a message to the Senate leadership that injustice will not be tolerated in the Senate.”
Alexander said that problems like this are common in the Senate, because many opinions exist and the judicial branch exists to solve conflicts involving bills
“One problem in the past is that SGA members are afraid to admit when they are wrong, but I’m not afraid to do what I have to do to resolve situations for the best interests of the students,” Alexander said.
Allen, 21, a business administration student from Jacksonville and former chairperson of the E&A committee, participated in the protest to support Alston.
“I don’t want the walkout to be viewed by students as senators not being responsible, because we have a voice (on campus) and should hold leaders accountable,” Allen said.
Contact Ebonie Ledbetter at firstname.lastname@example.org.