Election sparks debate

During another lengthy senate meeting Monday night, some senators debated the validity of the senate election last week, leading to an informal discussion Tuesday about the issue.

Junior senator Brittani King, who brought up the issue on Monday, said the elections are invalid because of the use of absentee ballots .

King, 21, a political science and philosophy student from Orlando, said there are no guidelines within the senate documents allowing the senate to cast votes with absentee ballots.

King said “senate documents state that all senators must be present to vote.”

Senate President Ramon Alexander said absentee ballots are a customary practice within the senate.

Current Judicial and Rules Chairperson, Keon Hardemon said his issue is that the absentee ballots were not questioned prior to the election.

“It should have been addressed before the elections were casted and counted,” said Hardemon, a 21-year-old business administration student from Miami.

He said according to their rule book, if a rule does not exist, then the senate should do what is customary practice.

A formal meeting tonight will also address the election.

The Activities and Services Committee also released the budget at the meeting, which allocated money to student activities and organizations.

Student activities, campus recreation and the College of Law were among the top priorities in the A&S budget for the 2005-2006 school year, said Sen. Ebony Ivory, who is the A& S liaison.

The A&S budget totaled $3,314,683.83.

A&S is funded through the $10 student activity fee that is charged to every student.

The student activities department received the most funding, which totaled $530,930.83.

Homecoming, which is not included in the Student Activities budget, was allocated $65,000.

Campus recreation received $472,505 out of the $1,241,021 requested.

Last year the department received $301,528.98.

The Director of Campus Recreation, Robert D. Carroll Jr., said he is not satisfied with the allocation.

Carroll said the money he requested was going to pay for utilities, maintenance and staff the gym at an adequate level.

He fears that $80,000 allocated for staff will afford for enough trained staff to handle the traffic the new 38,000 square foot building is anticipated to bring.

“We have to go back to well for more water,” Carroll said.

Carroll said that he would go back to the senate and request more funding.

Sen. Candice Elliot said she recognizes that the recreation department had great need this year, but the senate can’t grant all requests.

“We try very hard to meet their needs,” Elliot said.

Young and Striving, Lyceum, and the Residence Hall Association did not receive any funding.

Young and Striving did not turn in a budget request.

“Lyceum and the Residence Hall Association are not a necessity at this time,” Ivory said.

The Student Bar Association at the College of Law in Orlando received $44,180, which is an increase from last year’s funding of $10,000.

The association is an organization that governs nine law school organizations in Orlando.

Ivory said that law students have not seen the return on their investment in the past.

Student Bar Association President Carlos Woody said that a law student pays more than $90,000 in student activity fees.

“We received less than 50 percent of what we give the school in student activity fees, its like taxation without representation,” Woody said.

“It’s a school of lawyers, we can easily file lawsuits against the University for charging fees without giving us any benefits for those fees,” said Woody, a senior graduating student.

Woody said he is disappointed that they didn’t get the $119,000 requested. He said the amount allocated would impact their efforts in building up the law school’s reputation.

The $60,000 requested for travel to compete in mock trial competitions throughout the country was also not granted. Woody said now they are forced to alter some of their plans for competitions.

He also said that they do not have a transportation system set-up for students in Orlando, yet, they pay the same transportation fee Tallahassee based students pay.

Woody said that their money goes to the university, however, they don’t have a voice on campus.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” Woody said.

Senators who helped allocate funds believe their decisions were fair.

Contact Carla Jones at famuannews@hotmail.com.