Florida A&M’s Supreme Court has decided to hear a case on Thursday from candidates who appealed the results of last week’s Student Government Association president and vice president election.
The trial is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Student Senate Chambers. If the Supreme Court decides to invalidate the election, a new election will need to take place – a first in SGA history.
Candidates Justin McCorvey and Ariana Williams and Sean and Anthony Siders appealed the Spring 2012 elections results last Wednesday following what they allege to be an unapproved point system.
Senate President Marissa West and SGA Chief of Staff Michael Jefferson received 939 votes ahead of McCorvey/ Williams’ 864 votes. Dean of Students Henry Kirby issued a memorandum on Friday stating that he had not declared a student body president and vice president for the Spring 2012 elections.
Chief Justice Louis Jean-Baptiste, a third-year political science student from Palm Beach, convened the hearing Monday after the Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus on Feb. 23 to determine how much the candidates knew about the problems with the point system.
The document had ordered both president/vice president teams to explain their failure to ensure the student senate had approved the point system. Both McCorvey/Williams and the Siders ticket must also prove that they did not intentionally withhold information about the system.
Evan Bailey, a freshman senator from Kansas City, Mo. studying business administration, represented the McCorvey/Williams ticket in Monday’s hearing.
“It is not Ariana Williams’s duty as a senator or OFC chair, to make sure the point system is approved. However, it is the duty of Senate president to set the Senate agenda,” said Bailey.
Citing the Student Body Constitution Title VII, Chapter 601.3, Section 6C, Bailey maintained that the electoral commissioner is responsible for ensuring the point system is approved.
“It is the duty of the electoral commissioner, where it is spelled out explicitly, under Duties of the electoral commission, so it is not the duty of my client who is not the electoral commissioner,” said Bailey.
Jamaal Rose, a senior political science student from Tallahassee and Lucas Melton, a senior political science major from Columbus, Ga., acted as counsel for the Anthony/Sean Siders ticket.
Rose opened his arguments responding to the claims of the court’s admonition.
“We would like to offer to the court as evidence that when the senate did meet, our client made a point of clarification that this bill needed to be voted on and needed to be passed,” said Rose.
Rose cited the efforts made by his client, to bring to the attention of the senate, that the electoral commission’s point system was not yet approved.
After hearing both sides’ responses, the Supreme Court adjourned for deliberation.
Justices Chris Williams, a senior broadcast journalism student from Jacksonville, Edmond Baker, a senior business administration student from Miami, Jocelyn Oliver, a business administration student from Lake Butler, Fla., and Patrick Mckiethon, a junior philosophy/chemistry student from Miami, — with Jean-Baptiste — returned 20 minutes later with their judgment.
The Supreme Court decided to grant both parties a formal appeal trial hearing contesting the Electoral Commission’s unapproved point system.
A pre-trial hearing will be held on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Senate Chambers. This is where the defendants can submit motions, admit documents into evidences and submit typed depositions.