Sunday, September 18, 2016

Johnson supported Washington’s personally-driven impeachment campaign against Graham

Brandon Johnson, “interim” president of the FAMU Student Senate, was at the front-and-center of a series of weak efforts to encourage students to oppose the planned ouster of President Elmira Mangum. His call for students to join protests against the proposed exit agreement for Mangum received little support. Only about 20 students stayed the night during a sleep-in he led outside the Grand Ballroom on Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Johnson has fallen flat in trying to get FAMU students to back him. Most FAMU students weren’t in agreement when he joined Kyle Washington’s personally-driven impeachment campaign against then-Student Government Association (SGA) President Tonnette Graham.

Graham was the first black woman to win reelection to the SGA presidency and the first black woman to represent the Florida Student Association on the Florida Board of Governors.

A 2015 article by FAMUan reporter TyLisa C. Johnson stated that Washington worked to convince the Student Senate to bring impeachment charges against Graham that year. Johnson wrote:
"Monday at the student senate meeting, a speaker, in lobbying form, Kyle Washington, charged the senate to impeach Graham.

'He [Kyle Washington] charged the senate to impeach Madame Graham and the senate responded with a motion to forward to impeachment,' said Pernell Mitchell II, Judicial and Rules committee chairman."
WCTV-6 followed up with a story that said: “Brandon Johnson is a Senator at FAMU. He is one of 18 students senators who had to vote to begin an impeachment process.”

“When you inform people on what happened, you can't go against the constitution as a senator,” Johnson said in a statement aired by the TV station. “Even if you have personal ties to it, you have to go by the constitution.”

Graham succeeded in defending herself against the ridiculous charges and stayed in office.

Pernell Mitchell became the runningmate of SGA presidential candidate Victor Chrispin during the 2016 FAMU SGA elections. Chrispin was another student senator who voted to impeach Graham. They lost against a ticket headed by Graham’s vice-president, Justin Bruno. Bruno said that Washington was the campaign manager for the Chrispin/Mitchell ticket.

2015 was the second reported time that Washington tried to get an SGA president impeached. Back in 2007, FAMUan reporter Latasha Edwards wrote that “Washington told the senate he wanted to impeach Student Body President Phillip Agnew.”

Agnew said “the accusations are unfounded and ridiculous.” He added that Washington was of “no relevance in terms of impeachment.” No impeachment charges were brought against Agnew.

The impeachment accusations against Graham and Agnew were so silly that they aren’t even worth repeating. Neither one did anything wrong. Washington just appears to have a long-running jealously of elected SGA presidents who get more attention on the FAMU campus than he does. That continuous need for attention was also on display when Washington joined the cast of the BET reality TV series “College Hill” in 2009 and sought to make a national name for himself through cursing matches and arguments over ribs.

The only thing sadder than Washington’s self-serving attempts to get another 15 minutes of fame is that there are students like Johnson who actually seem to look up to him. The impeachment effort that Johnson supported against Graham was about helping Washington make himself feel important, not serving FAMU. 

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