Posters, banners and signs! Many students are just recovering from the 2005 spring Student Government Association elections, and here they come again. Yes FAMU, it’s that time again.
Wednesday, Sept.21, was the first official day of campaigning.
A slew of freshmen and graduate students paraded across campus reciting their best “vote for me” speeches and trying to persuade eligible students to vote for them.
The numerous positions available for freshmen and graduate students have attracted many candidates.
The freshman class has eight senate seats available, the ticket of president and vice president and a vacant freshman attendant position to fill.
For graduate students, there are only three senate seats available, a ticket for the president and vice ticket for the president and vice president, and the position of graduate attendant.
Electoral commissioner Shaun West said there are about 51 freshmen running for a seat in the senate, eleven tickets running for freshman president and vice president, and thirteen candidates for freshman attendant.
Graduate students have four candidates running for a senate seat, two tickets for President and Vice President, and one candidate for Graduate attendant.
Many freshmen seem to know what they are looking for in a candidate. Among the most popular qualities that they want to find in the elected officials are leadership, dependability, trustworthiness, responsibility, and dedication.
Freshman Shalamar Wright, a 17-year-old general studies student from Fort Lauderdale, said her major issue with the candidates is communication.
“Get to know your class,” Wright said.
Eighteen-year-old Lashownda Thompson, from Chicago, Ill., agrees.
Thompson, a freshman pharmacy student, said that she would like to see more “people meeting people -not just passing out flyers.”
Some students want to be able to tell up-front that a particular candidate means business.
Kerry Moore, a 17-year-old business administration student from Detroit, Mich., said she believes attire is something that is important when assessing a candidate’s potential.
Moore, a freshman student said he would like to see the candidates “dressed for business.”
Some freshmen believe that campus elections are not that important.
Charles Belgrave, a 21-year-old freshman student from Tallahassee said, “Politics is something that I really don’t get into.”
“They are just students. I feel that it’s (the University) still going to be run by the administrators,” Belgrave said.
Other students have taken a more optimistic attitude about elections.
Freshman Willy Kanga a 17-year-old biology student from the Ivory Coast disagrees with Belgrave.
“I think they (the elected officials) have the power to change (things). Otherwise there wouldn’t be an election in the first place,” Belgrave said.
Many candidates have used catchy slogans to get their name out.
One candidate for freshman senator, Osa Deba Mwen, an 18-year-old pharmacy student, from Miami said, “I don’t have a slogan because it’s not about appearances, it’s about what you can do.”
Freshman senate candidate RaQuel Coleman, an 18-year-old math education student from Tallahassee said, “I’ve been in student government since kindergarten.”
She continued, “I know I can make a change.”
The candidates are enthused, but they are also watching the steps they take because of the point system. The point system is a system where each candidate is allowed to have up to fifty points against them before they are disqualified.
While some complaints arose concerning a freshman president and vice-president ticket that received money from a fraternity on campus, West, 22, a senior criminal justice student from Tallahassee, said that is not a violation of the election rules.
“We have no jurisdiction over who candidates get money from,” West said.
Major violations can be worth fifty points. While minor violations aren’t worth that much, they can still add up.
West said the point system is used to make sure the elections are fair for everyone.
18-year-old freshman Antoinette Abington is a business administration student from Arkansas City, Kan., who is running for a seat in the senate.
Abington spoke about the point system as well. “All the rules are just.” she said.
Many of the candidates are geared up and ready to make a change, but they have a limited amount of time to persuade voters because Election Day is Sept. 27.
Contact Kamaria Hopkins at Kamaria_Hopkins@yahoo.com.