FAMU Student Government Elections Spark Outrage, Allegations Against President

An election to name student government representatives at Florida A&M University will be redone next week, after one ticket  questioned the integrity of voting at one of the university’s campuses, and the other questions the influence of President Elmira Mangum in the election process.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Justin Bruno and Devin Harrison, who won the general student body election for SGA president and vice-president by 149 votes, have filed an emergency injunction to halt decisions from the university’s student Supreme Court, Vice-President for Student Affairs and Dr. Mangum to void the voting results and to hold another election.

The Famuan Newspaper reports that alleged balloting inaccuracies at the university’s law campus in Orlando prompted a challenge from candidates Victor Chrispin and Pernell Mitchell II, which led to the reversal of the general vote.

Bruno has accused Dr. Mangum of favoring the Chrispin-Harrison ticket, which he says will offer the president an ally on the Board of Trustees, as university bylaws require for an elected SGA president to serve as a voting board member.

“I want students to know that my fight for justice is really a fight for them,” Bruno said. “This situation begs a troubling acknowledgement: if my rights can be mercilessly trampled upon in this case … there’s no telling what can, and does happen to any everyday student on a regular basis.”

Bruno and Harrison say they were never allowed an opportunity to appeal the decision of the student Supreme Court, and that his rights as a student have been violated. From the Democrat:

Bruno maintains that his team’s rights have been violated and he feels that Mangum and other administrators are unfairly taking a side in the election because of its broader implications for the president’s tenure. As the new SGA president, Bruno would automatically be appointed to the FAMU Board of Trustees, succeeding Tonnette Graham. Last October, as trustees tried to oust Mangum, Graham cast the final vote to end the attempt in a 6-6 tie.

The second round of elections for president and vice-president is scheduled for Mar. 29.

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