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New senate leaders elected after lengthy, heated meeting

By Ebonie Ledbetter
On March 22, 2005

After the senate meeting Monday night, that lasted six and a half hours, the positions of senate president and pro-tempore for next year's senate were filled, along with a freshman senate position.

Current Judicial and Rules Committee Chairperson, Keon Hardemon is the future Senate President; current Activities and Service Liaison Ebony Ivory is the Pro-Tempore; and Christopher Bryant is the new freshman senator.

Elections were slated to begin before the regularly scheduled meeting, but due to disputes among some senators about when elections should have occurred, senators ultimately decided to conduct regular business and insert the elections during the middle of the meeting.

The beginning of the meeting consisted of an atmosphere of confusion as senators talked over one another and the meeting's schedule was disputed.

During this time, Junior Senator Tara Crawford repeatedly commented, "We are wasting time."

One disagreement occurred because prior senate elections usually have been held after meetings, not before. According to Hardemon, a 21-year-old business administration student from Miami, elections were held at the end of the meeting last year and the meeting did not end until the morning.

Senate President Ramon Alexander, 20, a political science student from Tallahassee, said he decided to hold the elections earlier to get them out of the way- to allow the Student Affairs Department representative, Ms. Jones (who was there to supervise the elections and count the votes) to go home early.

After certain senators began to question the placement of the elections and whether the possible new freshman senator would be allowed to vote, Alexander explained his rationale and said, "Regardless of how important senate business is, it is an inconvenience to Ms. Jones (to hold the elections until late at night)."

Some senators also questioned the ability of impeached Senator Crystal House to submit an absentee ballot. Alexander said House has the right to vote, even though she has been impeached.

Ultimately, elections did cause the meeting to end around 1a.m., but all open positions were filled and the freshman senate candidate was confirmed.

Hardemon, the newly elected president who ran against sophomore senator Candace Elliot, focused his presentation on his goals for the 35th student Senate.

Hardemon emphasized the importance of senate documents and senators knowledge of document content. He plans to create a senate at the FAMU Law School and implement a telecommunications program to allow senators here and in Orlando to communicate easily.

He outlined vital qualities of a senate president as, "stern, just, (having) integrity and a good listener."

"In the past I have not always been the 'favorite' senator, but I stand by the documents and I always look at the black and white," he said.

Ebony Ivory, 20, a second-year MBA student from Fort Lauderdale, ran against sophomore senator Jasmine Blanks.

"I feel very honored and blessed to be elected," Ivory said.

Ivory focused on the reconstruction of the senate and she believes the "most important duty of the pro-tempore is creating high morale in the senate."

"Pro-tempore is a housekeeping job-kind of a mother in the senate. I want to make sure each senator is taken care of and senators are updated on university issues," Ivory said.

Newly elected freshman senator Christopher Bryant, 18, a first-year MBA student from Detroit, Mich., received unanimous approval from senators during his confirmation. He said his motivation for joining the senate was because he "wants to further the progression of his class and he enjoys giving back to his environment."

Bryant, who is the current chief of staff of the Freshmen Class Cabinet, said he views the senate as "the leaders, representatives and voice of students."

Although the meeting took longer than expected, the majority of senate members stayed until the elections were over, along with a large number of student spectators.

Hardemon and Ivory will assume their new positions next year, while Bryant was sworn in last night.

Contact Ebonie Ledbetter at famuannews@hotmail.com


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