As the final day of FAMU’s annual campaign week held in February came to a close – current student body vice president Justin Bruno was elected student body president for the 2016-17 academic year, alongside his vice president candidate Devin Harrison.
Following the election, FAMU student senators Victor Chrispin Jr., who is Student Relations Chairman and vying for president, along with Judicial and Rules Chairman Pernell Mitchell II, his running mate, made an appeal.
The appeal is based on what appears to be a mishap between the Law School precinct and official Student Body Statutes as outlined in the memorandum.
“It has come to the attention of the Chrispin/Mitchell ticket that a violation of the System of Student Body Statutes has occurred in the Spring 2016 Student body election.”
According to the memo, it was revealed that The Electoral Commission was not present at the counting of votes from the Law School precinct. It was also reported that others were not present during the counting of votes at this precinct.
Those others were: the member of the executive branch, member of the judicial branch, member of the student senate elections and appointments committee and the director of student activities.
The memo also said that the Chrispin/Mitchell ticket contests that there was no time log to determine whether the votes from the law school precinct were counted immediately following their collection in accordance with Chapter 602.5.
Chapter 602.5 of the Student Body Statutes states that a member of each branch -executive and judicial- must be present, as well as a member of the student senate elections and appointments committee to observe the process.
The Electoral Commission, Director of Student Activities or his/her designee and/or University Official must be present at the ballot counting as well.
“No other persons are allowed to be present at the ballot counting if they do not represent any of the aforementioned stated parties which should not exceed 15 persons, excluding the Director of Student Activities or his / her designee,” according to the memo.
Following the appeal, on Feb. 26, the Student Supreme Court held a pretrial motion hearing. Following the hearing, in a 3-2 vote, the SSC approved the appeal from the Chrispin-Mitchell ticket and called for a new election including the entire student body for the 2016 Presidential Election.
“The process is intended to be a fair and just election to augment the voices of the student body,” Mitchell said. “I would implore students to look at the situation that we are in as a University and as a community. We have to stand up (and) be counted when it comes to the decisions that affect our daily lives.”
Although the Bruno-Harrison ticket won the vote of the main campus (1213-1210) as well as the vote of the FAMU law school (153-7), due to violations by the Electoral Commission during the election process they will have to participate in the new election within the coming days.
Vice president elect Devin Harrison said that it is “disheartening” for the appeal to be the topic of discussion.
“Situations and instances of this nature is what Justin and I preached throughout our campaign: that’s accountability and integrity,” he said. “More so, to put the main campus and our beloved law school through such a rigorous process is unacceptable.”
Adrienne Floyd, who was recently elected Electoral Commissioner for the 2016-17 academic year indicates that these issues will not be faced in next year’s elections.
“In order to prevent the issues of having a re-election happen, I plan on having a precinct supervisor and faculty staff member to be funded by the 46th Student Senate to properly handle the ballots and secure them. Another initiative is to firmly push for online voting so that way we can have results assessed quicker than counting ballots.”
March 29 is currently the date set for the new election.