“Progression to a New Age,” the unofficial theme for the 22nd session of the 36th Student Senate held on March 12, symbolized developmental changes assured to come from spring elections.
The start of the first Senate meeting since Spring Break brought a host of issues raised by students regarding elections.
Among topics discussed during the community forum segment were concerns about missing ballots, the disqualification of ballots for write-in candidates and the inability for sophomores with junior credits to vote for their class.
Memos were directed to Electoral Commissioner Darien Moses regarding the omission of Chante Renee Sessomes’ name from several ballots and a possible call for a new election for the junior attendant race.
“This year, when I went to vote for my senior elective, I got a senior ballot, which meant I couldn’t vote for junior attendant,” said Vandoline Ivey, a senator and third-year business administration student from Lakeland. “I was counted as a senior and not a junior according to the registrar’s office because of my number of credits.”
Kyle Washington, a sophomore student physical education student from Jackson Miss., delivered a spirited address to the Senate that aimed to attribute the outcome of the elections to a University of segregated students lacking unity.
“We’re here to express the will of the student body,” said Senate President Ebony Manchion, a fourth-year business student from Fort Lauderdale. “There was concern about how we’re performing by a student, and I think the Senate took that in.”
What garnered most of the assembly’s time and attention was the set of bills passed and eventually approved by the Senate regarding policies for the student government association’s finance code, allocation of funds and the internal Senate elections.
Authored by Sen. Calvin Hayes, the first bill proposed that SGA and all bodies funded by activity and services fees must follow FAMU purchasing rules and procedures. The bill targeted the prohibition of expenditures toward the funding of Greek organizations, councils representing Greek organizations, financial support of political candidates and the use of A&S fees to raise funds for anything except concerts such as homecoming.
The second bill, read by Sen. Sekou L. Watkins and sponsored by the Organization & Finance Committee, requested the allocation of $3,800 for Essence Dance Theatre, whose next production begins April 14. Justification for the allotment was defended by the organization’s projected purpose, which is to cultivate the creative expression of young women and men, as well as introduce and inspire a form of understanding and appreciation for the art of dance.
“One of the most important issues discussed was the budget coming up,” said Charles Manchion, 20, a sophomore senator and second-year political science student from Cincinnati. “Allocation of the A&S funds that are taken up by the students is one of our core duties as senators.”
One of the final items on the agenda was internal nominations for next semester’s Student Senate. Several nominations for the position of senate president pro tempore, which is currently held by Mellori Lumpkin, were turned down by most of the senators present.
Lumpkin said she was delighted to accept her nomination for the 37th Student Senate President. Following the motion was the proposal to contact absent senators who had been nominated by their peers.