Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bruno says Mangum supporting manipulation of SGA elections in attempt to protect her job

Back on October 22, FAMU Student Government Association (SGA) President Tonnette S. Graham and Vice-President Justin Bruno battled what they called an under-handed effort to oust Elmira Mangum from the big seat in Lee Hall.

Graham cast the deciding vote against a Board of Trustees (BOT) motion to fire Mangum that failed narrowly at 6-6. She and Bruno then held a rally on the steps of Lee Hall that called for Chairman Rufus Montgomery, who was at the head of the effort to terminate Mangum, to step down from his leadership post. Bruno later took that message to Gov. Rick Scott by leading about 100 students in a march to his office in the Florida Capitol. Rufus resigned from the chairmanship the next day.

Yesterday, Bruno was back on the steps of Lee Hall for another protest. But this time, he said Mangum was the one who was bringing harm to the only public historically black university in the state.

Bruno and his runningmate Devin Harrison won the positions of SGA president and vice-president by 163 votes. They received 1,366 to the 1,203 votes of the Victor Chrispin/Pernell Mitchell ticket. Chrispin challenged the results with an appeal to the Student Supreme Court that asked for a new election based on allegations of voting problems at the FAMU College of Law in Orlando. The court ruled in favor of his request, which is now being back by the Mangum administration.

“Dr. Elmira Mangum agreed with the (opponents’) appeal,” Bruno said in a quote published in the Tallahassee Democrat. “That is to manipulate the election on behalf of the (FAMU) administration and other administrators.”

Bruno appeared in front of Lee Hall with his mother, runningmate, and more than a dozen supporters. He accused the Mangum administration of showing “bias” for agreeing to a redo of the entire presidential election in Tallahassee and Orlando when the only reported problems came from the Orlando campus. He also said it was unfair for the presidential contest to be singled out when there were also elections for positions such as Mr. and Miss FAMU and electoral commissioner.

“Everyone agrees the violations took place at the law school,” Bruno said. “Why not consider the law school only (for a second vote).? Why is our campaign the only one being asked for re-election? Clearly, we are being singled out.”

He said he thinks Mangum wants Chrispin on the BOT because they have a personal friendship that’s led her to believe he’ll help protect her job. 

“She has a better sense of security about his assistance on the board of trustees than she has about mine, because I don’t have a personal relationship with her, I have a professional relationship with her,” he said.

Bruno added: “So, if somebody gets elected that does not have a personal connection to her and will not act in her favor as an advocate for her best interest, then she might get removed.”

The Tallahassee Democrat also reported that: “Bruno said Mangum’s bottom line decision follows a pattern that became evident during the campaign. He alleges that Kyle Washington, student engagement coordinator within the Office of Communications, served as campaign manager for his opponents.”

“There is a deliberate attempt to manipulate the outcome of this election to work in favor of the administrators that are involved,” Bruno told reporters.

The new campaign week for the positions of president and vice-president has been scheduled to take place from Wednesday, March 23 through Tuesday, March 29 (the new voting day). Bruno and Harrison filed an injunction request in the Leon County Court System that seeks to either uphold the original election results or limit the election redo to the FAMU College of Law. They are represented by Attorney Mutaqee Akbar of Tallahassee.

Vice-President for Student Affairs William Hudson released a statement saying that administration supports the new election process ordered by the Student Supreme Court.

Read the full injunction request posted by WFSU here.

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