Emotions ran high at the Student Senate meeting Monday night as Maurice Slade was bypassed for the position of sophomore senator.
Larry Ferguson, who reportedly received a lower score than Slade during his interview with the Elections and Appointments Committee, was confirmed for the position.
“People went into the meeting knowing who they were going to vote for. Ferguson and I had no control over the decision,” said Slade, 19, a business student from Houston. “I don’t like the way (the Senate) works. I believe a lot of things are shady in the Senate. They should vote for what they believe in instead of what others believe in.”
Several senators and meeting attendees walked out in disagreement during the confirmation process.
Junior Sen. Tara Crawford was among those upset, not about the outcome of the silent ballot, but of how the entire voting procedure was brought about.
“People should use their own voice when it comes to electing an official,” Crawford said, agreeing with a number of senators who said voting should not be influenced by alliances and friendships.
Rule 5.01C3 of the Senate Rules and Procedures, among other things, states that for a candidate to be elected into an official position, he or she must be approved with a two-thirds vote from the Senate after receiving a favorable recommendation by the E&A Committee. Since there were 16 senators present during the vote, 11 votes would have been needed to approve either candidate. Ferguson received 9 out of the 16 votes, but neither candidate received the necessary two-thirds.
According to Senate President Ramon Alexander, all of the proceedings that occurred were completely legal.
Candice Elliott, E&A Committee Chair, said the Senate voted Monday night to waive rules 5.01C3, 5.01C4 and 5.01C6, making the night’s proceedings valid.
Waving these rules gave Slade and Ferguson a chance to come before the Senate and allowed a confirmation to be made without a two-thirds vote.
Usually only the candidate with the highest favorable score comes before the Senate and must get a two-thirds vote for confirmation.
“I have never given someone a perfect score, but I thought (Ferguson) was so dynamic that I wanted him to be heard by the Senate,” Elliott said.
According to Michael Morton, who was Senate president last year, the two-thirds vote section of Rule 5.01C3 cannot be waived legally because it is in the Student Body Constitution.
“I don’t think (Monday night’s proceedings) are the Senate’s fault. I think the blame should be put on the Senate leadership. The entire process is null and void,” Morton said.
Troubled by the night’s proceedings, Junior Sen. Torey Alston said, “What they did today was wrong and students need to hear about it.
“I am not against the candidates. I am against the procedures and I want the judicial branch to look over today’s procedure,” Alston said.
Alston, who serves on the Senate’s E&A Committee, had the opportunity to interview both Ferguson and Slade about the their views and what ideas they planned to bring to the Senate.
During his interview Ferguson, a 19-year-old business administration student, said what was most important was the duty to help the student body.
He said it was important to find out the students’ needs and let them know what was being discussed on campus.
“I’m excited about the position and excited to be in front of you all,” Ferguson said.
Slade said he was very passionate about getting the rest of the student body involved with the different procedures in SGA.
When asked about his ideas for the Senate, he said, “We’re here to represent the students. I believe in doing the right thing and making the right decisions.”
Slade also wanted to make it clear that he “loved FAMU” and would be willing to do anything to let students know what was going on in SGA.
Many senators and former senators spoke on their beliefs regarding the process that was used.
Jo’Vion Greer, a junior business administration student and former senator, spoke before the Senate.
“We are supposed to debate different issues in the Senate. If we all thought alike, then we would only need one senator.
Let’s not take hostile motions and turn them into hostile emotions.” Greer said.
After all of the senators voiced their views, Alexander spoke to the Senate.
“People today threw out ‘just, fair and integrity’, but I want to throw out ‘hypocrisy’.” Afterward he explained, “When senators try to infer certain things, it is important they live up to the same level of expectation.”
Contact Tara West at firstname.lastname@example.org.