SGA’s Student Senate met Monday to discuss leadership changes, upcoming events and proposed bills.
Many initiatives and resolutions were discussed , including the grocery store weekend shuttle for students, a pep rally and concert for Black History Month, a safety team partnership with FAMU Police Department and a possible LGBTQIA+ Leadership Summit.
But one of the heavier topics came after Senate President Christopher Miller informed leadership that there is a vacancy for the pro-tempore position. He told the gallery that he was advised by the director and coordinator of SGA that the Student Senate does not have a direct order of succession for filling that vacancy. Miller said he will send out applications and conduct interviews.
Freshman Senator Amon McKinney asked if it was possible for the Senate to vote on the decision of how the vacancy could be filled. Miller said he would like to have another meeting about how the Senate will fill the pro-tempore position with the director and coordinator.
Senior Senator Taylar Hall said that the Student Senate needs to be governed by its bylaws. “The documents are our stability, that’s what we’re governed by. I don’t agree with (McKinney),” Hall said.
The second half of the meeting consisted of bills and resolutions.
But a resolution brought forth by sophomore Senator Maurice Gilbert brought a wave of emotion to the room. Gilbert asked that the university acknowledge that police brutality is real and condemns police brutality because FAMU is a historically black institution.
On Dec. 14, former FAMU student Jamee Johnson was killed by a Jacksonville police officer during a traffic stop.
Gilbert cited a study in the journal “Injury Protection” to further back up his resolution.
But a few gallery members and student leaders advised Gilbert that the Senate is not allowed to speak on behalf of the university, without first going to the Office of Communication.
It was also advised that the Senate hold off on any statements until the investigation is over to avoid defamation or lawsuits.
Despite the challenges, Gilbert strongly defended his resolution.
As the meeting came to a close, all student leaders expressed their expectations for this year and reflected on Gilbert’s proposed resolution.
Many of the senators, nearly in tears, explained their reactions to Johnson’s death, saying it hits close to home.“It’s something that you think about every day as a black man. You see it on the news, but it gets closer and closer and you realize like – one small move or mistake could come to my life being wrongfully ended from the hands that are supposed to protect us,” Sen. Xavier McClinton said.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a new headline and several revisions on Thursday, Jan. 16, to more accurately reflect what took place during Monday’s Student Senate meeting.