Senate overrides budget vetoes

During the last senate meeting of the year Monday night, a trial involving the senate elections was announced. Senators were also presented with SGA President Virgil Miller’s line-item vetoes of the Activities & Services Budget and reflected upon the year and the end of the R.E.E.L administration.

At the beginning of the meeting, SGA Chief Justice Jason Hurst announced that the judicial branch is holding a trial concerning the senate elections to ensure that the elections were valid.

“There are grounds for both parties as to why we (the judicial branch) found grounds for a trial,” Hurst said.

The trial will be held Friday and may affect the outcome of the elections.

The 34th Student Senate held a second election two weeks ago because of the improper use of absentee ballots during the original election on March 21.

Current Elections & Appointments Committee Chair Candice Elliot was elected senate president during the second election by one vote, while her opponent, current Judicial & Rules Committee Chair Keon Hardemon, won in the first election by one vote. Senate President Pro-Tempore-elect, Ebony Ivory, won both elections.

During his executive report, Miller presented his vetoes of the A&S budget, which was approved by the senate on April 4, but senators voted to override his vetoes during the meeting.

Miller’s vetoes involved the allocation of funds to certain agencies that exceeded their requests “when several needs have not been met for our other agencies.”

Miller wanted to give additional funds to the Electoral Commission and the Fine Arts Gallery from the over allocated funds to other agencies. His reasoning for the recommendation of additional funds was: “A constant concern of FAMU students is our campus elections and it’s time to support the process as much as possible in an effort to restore faith and increase participation.”

Miller also said the gallery needs money for security because the current lack of security has caused many artists and groups to not bring their collections to the campus.

Ivory, the current A&S liaison, said she would rather use unallocated funds to aid the Gallery and the Electoral Commission than take funds from other agencies.

After examining and discussing the presidential veto, senators voted to override the veto, which sends the proposed budget to the university president.

Freshman Sen. Monique Gillum said, “If we had made any changes (to the budget) it would have gone back to the SGA President, but now it will go the president (Castell V. Bryant). (The budget) goes through a lot of changes before the final outcome next year.”

As the end of the 34th Student Senate nears, some senators reflected on their experience under the R.E.E.L. administration and bid farewell to Miller.

Senate Pro-Tempore Jessica Larché said, “As a sophomore in this position, it was good to serve under an administration with a clear thought (focus).”

Senate President Ramon Alexander said the “great chemistry” between himself, Larché and the executive branch leaders allowed them to represent the students this year.

When Miller gave his final executive report, he said: “If you had asked me this time last year if I would have foreseen the events of this year, I would have said no, but I would not change anything that happened.”

Although the trial concerning the elections was announced Monday, Elliot has already started planning for next year.

In an interview before the meeting, she said she is taking applications for senate staff and she looks forward to creating a summer senate.

She believes the 34th Senate was productive, but “very challenging and controversial. Along the way (the Senate) lost sight that we are here to work as a whole.”

Elliot said she wants to create a “united front” next year “to support each other because we are all here for the students.”

Although Monday night was the last official senate meeting, Larche reminded senators “we do have more events.”

On Thursday evening, a tri-branch SGA meeting with guest Interim President Bryant will take place in the senate chambers.

Contact Ebonie Ledbetter at