With rumors of scandal and wrong-doing swirling around the recent campus elections, the Student Government Association called an emergency town hall meeting Tuesday night to address the concerns of FAMU students.
The meeting, held in the SGA senate chambers was filled to capacity as SGA President Virgil Miller opened the meeting by informing students of the events related to the election, leading up to spring break.
“On the Friday going into spring break, the director of student activities received a notice of non-renewal of contract. On the Thursday of spring break, she received a notice of suspension. On Friday of spring break, the office assistant here at student government received a notice of suspension until further notice to both of those individuals.” Miller said.
Most of the students who attended the meeting assumed that it would mainly be about the elections, but since reports are still forthcoming, there wasn’t much that Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Green-Powell, or Vice President of Student Affairs Henry Kirby could comment on.
According to Miller, the elections are not under investigation. They are, however, under review.
According to Vice President Powell, the election reports ordered by President Bryant will be ready this Friday.
Lately, there have been rumors that former presidential hopeful Torey Alston disputed the election results, but according to Alston, that is rumor is not true.
“I haven’t appealed any election. That’s totally coming from the Electoral Commission. I’ve already said congratulations to both Philip and Ramon.” Said Alston, a 20-year-old Business Administration student from Fort Lauderdale .
Prior to their suspensions, both people held key positions in their respective offices.
Alice Mathis, who has served as the director for the Office of Student Union and Activities (OSUA) for two years provided direction and oversight for many major events on campus.
Benita Lamb served as office assistant for student government, and was responsible for handling paperwork relating to allocation of funds for campus clubs and organizations.
After both women were suspended, President Miller, SGA Vice President Kenisha Grant, Miss FAMU Brooke Smith, Senate President Ramon Alexander, and Senate President Pro-tempore Jessica Larsche met with Interim President Bryant and handed her a list of expectations from student government officers.
That list contained issues ranging from staffing concerns to the handling of future student issues.
“I’m being very optimistic in saying that many of the issues will be addressed in the near future. Many of the staffing issues that we have will be addressed in the future, and that is per the conversation that we had with the university president.”
During the meeting, Miller also addressed the issues relating to staffing in student government and the OSUA and how that affected the plans that were already in the works.
According to Miller, Bryant has already appointed people to step into those roles, and will name an interim director of the OSUA tomorrow.
During the meeting, Vice President Powell spoke about the staffing situation.
“W e developed a staffing plan immediately, but we knew that we could not implement a staffing plan without the support of our president.” Powell said.
According to Vice President Kirby, the suspension of both Lamb and Mathis was done according to proper procedure.
He further went on to say that both offices were left with sufficient staffing to carry on as normal. After being asked if the OSUA was crippled because of the absence of a permanent director, Kirby replied by saying, ” It’s definitely not crippled.”
Miller, however, had a different viewpoint.
“SGA was crippled,” he started. “The OSUA was crippled. I still have not been officially notified that our office assistant was not with us.”
Student body Vice President Grant said it was that lack of notification that was blatantly disrespectful.
“My concern is about the lack of notification and respect that was give to us by the administration.”
Grant also went on to dispute the claim that there was someone ready to immediately step in and take Mathis and Lamb’s place.
“SGA was shut down for nine days, and no one contacted us in any way, shape, form, or fashion.” Grant said.
Several students had different opinions of the effectiveness of the meeting.
“I think that this town hall meeting was leeway to address the issues of FAMU students,” said Shashee Moore, a print journalism student from West Palm Beach.
“I don’t think it necessarily solved anything.” Moore said.
Reginald Todd, a 20-year-old Math Education major from Pensacola feels the administration acted in the best interest of the students, and he trusts their decision.
“I trust the administration completely. Who are we to tell the administration what needs to be done?” Todd said.
Contact Sidney Wright IV at firstname.lastname@example.org