PBM budget request takes a back seat

Florida A&M University’s Chapter of Progressive Black Men Inc. presented a special appropriation bill to the 45th Student Senate for the third time on Feb. 25. Their requests were tabled indefinitely.

According to pbm1989.org, PBM is trying to raise money to attend their 13th annual National Conference in April to network with fellow brothers, enhance leadership skills and partake in the bi-annual election.

Sen. Rakeem Ford, also a member of PBM, drafted the appropriation bill that asked the Student Senate to grant them $6,143 to fund their trip to Atlanta, Ga.

The organization plans to allocate $3,200 to cover the cost of registration for group members and the organization's advisor, and $2,943 to cover housing for the weekend. All other expenses including transportation would be covered by the organization.

During the meeting, senate pro-temp Andrea Pringle asked PBM president Kevin Whitfield if there was a need to take all 32 members on the trip.

“It’s not necessarily a need more so (than) a want. We’d like to have a large presence at conference being that one of our alumni members’ is running for a national position,” Whitfield said.  

FAMU Student Senate is responsible for ensuring certified clubs and organizations are funded properly in order for the clubs and organizations to function in a capacity that is in the best interest of the student body.

Sen. Jernice Woodberry confirmed that the senate had $249,373.14 senate in unallocated funds.

Eight clubs and organizations including NABJ, Addiction, Hero and the Michigan Club presented special appropriation bills requesting funding. Some requested as much as $18,000 dollars.

After minutes of questioning and deliberation between both parties PBM agreed to cut the requested funds by more than half.  After doing so, graduate sen. Iman Sandifer suggested that the bill be tabled indefinitely due to the lack of outside fundraising.

Nicolas Walker, fourth-year FAMU business administration student from Orlando, believes that the decision made regarding his organization was wrong and that the student leaders aren’t using their positions to benefit the student body.

“For a room full of senators, I noticed that there were only three people taking and leading the conversation,” Walker said. “How is there ten or eleven senators asking (petty) questions about the bill, but when it comes time to vote only two or three people are voting.”

There were 22 senators present at the meeting.

Christan Jones, second-year FAMU health care management student from West Palm Beach, said student leaders should do their jobs fairly.

“If you are elected to serve as a senator then you need to do what your job requires and if you stand for something stand strongly by it,” Jones said. “Also, it was wrong to dismiss PBM’s bill because they actually work and a good way to represent the university is by attending conferences and making your presence known.”   

Senate meetings take place every Monday in the Grand Ballroom–a temporary location while the senate chambers are under construction.