Election results still in limbo

The decision on the fate of the 2009-2010 Student Body President and Vice President is expected to be made either today or Monday, university officials said.

But whatever Vice President of Student Affairs Roland Gaines decides, there is little consensus about whether a special election could be held during finals week.

Chief Justice Magalie Yacinthe said that Gaines could either uphold the court’s decision to disqualify Gallop Franklin and Calvin Hayes or to remand it back to the court. Either way the process takes time, said Dean of Student Affairs Henry Kirby.

Once Gaines received the appeals, one from the electoral commission and one from the Franklin-Hayes ticket, at that point “he had to secure a record from the student supreme court of their below proceedings, meaning their trial, as well as the hearing tapes in order for him to thoroughly review the record and the appeal in order for him to make an appropriate decision,” Kirby said.

On March 2, Candidate for Student Body President Mario Henderson filed an appeal against the electoral commission claiming that points were not properly assessed to the Franklin-Hayes ticket. The trial was held April 8 and the court ruled disqualifying Franklin and Hayes. A special election was to be held within a week.    

Franklin and Hayes, along with the electoral commission, immediately appealed forcing Gaines to make the decision.

Whatever Gaines decides, a special election this late in the semester is unlikely, said Vincent Evans, counsel to Henderson.   

“I don’t know when such a thing will happen,” Evans said. “We are in the final days of school. This has been a very time consuming issue, but we stand on principle.”

But Kirby disagreed. If the court’s decision is upheld, a special election could still happen, he said.

“It’s possible for anything,” Kirby said. “It would be premature for me to speculate what may be necessary since I don’t even know what Mr. Gaines is going to determine. School doesn’t end until next Friday. It only takes one day to hold an election.”

Kirby said these kinds of controversies have been commonplace during his 30 years of employment at FAMU.

Each year, there has been a court case for either the title of Mr. or Miss. FAMU or student body president and vice president.

“Every year, since 1979 when I stepped foot on this campus, there has always been an appeal,” Kirby said. “This is nothing new.”

Meanwhile, Kirby cautioned the candidates to be patient because the process must be thorough.

“Mr. Gaines did not receive the record from the court until tax day, April 15,” Kirby said.  “For anyone to expect him to speed up the process in the interest of not being thorough and not being fair to the process.”

Despite the court’s earlier decision to disqualify their ticket, Hayes said he was confident the issue will be resolved in their favor.

“I believe in my heart that the student body of FAMU has casts their vote for their student leaders,” Hayes said. “The biggest thing right now is that I remain positive.”