New election gives Bruno, Harrison full term to lead FAMU’s SGA
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Justin Bruno and Devin Harrison got the justice that they couldn’t get in a Leon County courthouse in the election box, giving them a full term to serve as leaders of FAMU’s Student Government Association.
Bruno and Harrison won a recent SGA election, following a runoff against Marquise McMiller and William Gardner. Another team was also locked in the campaign that at times was overshadowed by questions over a tumultuous race just a year earlier.
The decision to run came after the winners decided that they had too much unfinished business in terms of keeping their promise to students. They won the runoff with 714 votes to 655 for McMiller and Gardner.
“If I were to let this term end and then move on,” Bruno said, “I would have forfeited the opportunity to at least redeem that leadership that we had offered to the students last year.”
Bruno and Harrison won the 2016 election, but their opponents challenged the outcome on the ground that there might have been possible violations at the Law School campus in Orlando.
The issue went as far as the 1st District Court of Appeals, which ruled the matter should be settled by students. The schools election commission sought to have another campus-wide election, but Bruno and Harrison were allowed the president and vice president seats uncontested because graduation made their challengers ineligible.
But the controversy spewed over to this election, said Denver Smith, who managed the Bruno-Harrison campaign. Rumors were rampant on campus that Bruno and Harrison were the source of the controversy, with some students questioning why they took the case to court.
Her strategy for countering the confusion was straightforward, Smith said.
“All we had to do was tell the truth,” she said. “That was the only strategy. We just had to remain level-headed and understand a lot of different things were being said.”
The next move for Bruno and Harrison is to set up their cabinet and that won’t happen without thorough vetting, said Harrison. The business at hand is too serious for anything less, he said.
“We want the top students in these positions so we can really move FAMU’s SGA forward because if student government is looked at as a joke; it is a joke,” Harrison said. “It’s time for us to get the students serious.”
Meanwhile, the new president and vice president have been tackling issues affecting students. One that they urgently addressed was conflicting hours between the registrar’s office and the cashier’s, which closes an hour early at 4 p.m.
The difference in closing times made it difficult for students to complete business that requires both offices being opened for the same hours, Bruno said, adding that he’s been assured that both will now have the same closing time starting this week.
He and Harrison also will keep their hands on the pulse of the Florida Senate and House. He’s already started networking with the lawmakers, Bruno said.
“If we are not paying attention, some adverse things could happen to us,” he said. “It’s a different story when they see the students, the people that this legislation is directly affecting. It makes an impact on the legislators in the back of their minds. That’s what is needed in order for them to pay attention sometimes.”