The Senate cited alleged violations of the student body election codes as grounds to initiate the impeachment proceedings. “Their assumption into office is a clear violation of both our elections and ethics codes,” Senator Simone Nisbett said.
Nisbett, the sponsor of both motions to initiate impeachment proceedings, serves as the Organization and Finance Committee chairwoman. She said that the Senate was reluctant to take this step. “We never wanted to come to this course of action, but administration has left us no choice, we can not allow them to dictate blatant violations of the student body procedures.”
Nisbett’s motions came directly after the Senate voted 18-2 to formerly to accept Bruno and Harrison as the President and Vice-President, the result of a charge from Senator Marquise McMiller to move to find a resolution to the gridlock between the Senate and administration.
SGA has been at odds with the administration over who serves as student body president since Jan. 11, when the Electoral Commission confirmed the ticket of Bruno and Harrison as president and vice president. The Senate has ruled that the commission acted improperly and it recognizes Jaylen Smith and Paris Elliis president and vice president.
The student body president is a voting member on the university Board of Trustees, the university’s governing body.
“Administration has forced these actions upon us by refusing to hear the voice of the students,” McMiller said. “They way I see it SGA needs to play the same political game they are playing and use a back door to engage in civil disobedience.”
McMiller, a graduate student who has announced his candidacy for student body president, then presented two options for the Senate to move forward. “The Senate can either hire outside counsel to advocate on their behalf, but the would disenfranchise the students from their A&S fees,” McMiller said. “Or to accept Justin Bruno as president and åvice president and perform what ever other duties they deem necessary as senators.”
The motion to impeach Bruno passed 11-8-2, while the motion to initiate proceedings against Harrison garnered more support with a 15-5-1 vote.
Harrison, who has also announced that he will be running for SGA president this spring, would be ineligible to hold office if the impeachment is upheld
Senate Pro-Tempore Kenidee Webster said that she believed that Bruno and Harrison could not advocate for and protect student interests. “How can they defend the student rights and interests to the [board of trustees] and Faculty Senate if they wont even respect or follow the governing documents of the student body,” Webster said.
Elections and Appointments Committee Vice- Chairwoman JaKela London fears that this move will be detrimental to the student body. “I feel as though at this point we are running around in circles and there are no real solutions being put forth,” London said. London was one of only five senators to vote against both impeachment motions.
The impeachment proceedings will be placed on the Student Supreme Court docket until the Senate entertains court appointment made by SGA President Jaylen Smith later this week. The seven-member Supreme Court currently does not have enough members to hold impeachment proceedings. There are three members and five are required to meet quorum.
The Bruno-Harrison ticket won a disputed election in spring 2016, and they were not sworn in until Jan. 11. Smith, who had been elected Senate president, has served as student body president – and FAMU trustee – since May 2016.