Candidates debate in Lee Hall

Low enrollment, peer unity and tradition were at the forefront of conversation during the university’s electoral commission debate Friday in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Class official candidates presented their platforms before student president and vice president tickets Evan Bailey and Ryan Kornegay and Tonnette Graham and Ronnie Mackey Jr. took the stage.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor mediated the debate. Questions concerning friction within FAMU’s student government association, student’s activity and service fees and how each member of the ticket would feel about working with FAMU’ s first female president, Elmira Mangum, were addressed.

Tony Hansberry, a junior chemistry student from Jacksonville who serves as the judicial and rules committee chair within the student senate, said a lot of issues went unanswered, and he was disappointed by the vague questions. 

“It was a lot of yes and no answer type questions, and as a student trying to figure out who I am going to vote for, it’s important not to hear yes and no questions,” Hansberry said.

Hansberry said he felt the questions were common sense, and the answers didn’t require much thought. 

“The person is going to say yes to this question, or they’re going to say no,” Hansberry said. “Now they are just going to give a reason to validate why they will say it. I want to hear questions that will actually make them think about what they want to do for our university.”

Alexandria Brown, a junior business administration student from Baltimore, said the debate helped her confirm who she was going to vote for.

“The moderator gave very thorough questions for the candidates to get their point across about what they are going to do while they’re in office,” Brown said. “He did a great job of allowing the students to get great answers from the candidates.” 

Overall, Electoral Commissioner Tamieka Atkinson, a senior chemistry and psychology student from Miami, said the debate was a success because of this year’s online accessibility. 

“I feel it went very well,” Atkinson said. “The students had two opportunities: one to be there in person and also to hear online and see for themselves through FamCast.”