Archive for February, 2009

Why vote?

Posted in elections on February 24, 2009 by Brandon

Well, it’s a fair question.

Commenter James says:

I didn’t vote and I’m not going to. Every year the SGA President promises me things in the Breezeway and then never even looks into them. I have no faith in them and neither should you.

I used to feel the same way about politics in general. That changed a couple years ago, when I started becoming more community-minded and as I gradually realized some of the vastly unappreciated complexities involved in leadership roles.

It’s not so much that I have faith in the candidates — I do want them to do well, even if I don’t expect it. It’s more that I have hope in the institution of Student Government. (I’ve always balked at calling it Student Government Association as well, because that makes it sound more like a club, to me.)

The way I see it, our student money — our annual $7+ million in activity and service fees  — is going to get spent with or without SG. There’s an administrative superstructure there to call the shots. And to the greatest degree possible, I want students to have a voice about it: it is our money.

To put it cynically, even if we don’t vote in good leaders, we still vote in mouthpieces and placeholders for a space where students have some power. To the extent we can protect that space by showing support and awareness, we should, even when we’re disappointed with the current crop of people.

In sum: vote even if you don’t like the candidates, because more people involved means more getting done; and, so that when better people come along, there’s still a position where they can effectively do things. The power comes not from the person, but from the collective support behind the person; that was the message and the success of Obama.

If we elect people whom no students support or ever talk to, then we’re just handing our money and our small bit of authority over to the administration. I wonder if my commenter has more faith in the larger bureaucracy than he does in his fellow students.

If you want to share your reasons for voting or not voting, as always, e-mail me.

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Go vote!

Posted in elections on February 24, 2009 by Brandon

owlvote

If you’re the kind of person who reads this, you’re probably not the kind of person who puts off voting. But if I’m preaching to anyone outside the choir, click over here and vote. Be sure to vote on the university-wide and campus ballots, as well as the polls. You’ve got till 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.

Debate Videos Up on Youtube

Posted in elections on February 19, 2009 by Brandon

For those of you who didn’t catch Monday night’s debate between the presidential candidates, Owl TV’s finally got several of the segments up. You can take a look here.

Here’s a couple segments where the candidates question each other:

Enjoy.

Edit: I’ve changed the link since the UP has categorized them nicely and it’s easier to find what you want to hear.

How’d the debate go?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2009 by Brandon

The debate Monday night was a success, I felt. I was happy with the turnout, which I’d estimate at between 100-150 (and the room was set for 200). We also had quite a few students come up to ask  questions, many of which were excellent and to the point.

I know you’d all like to see footage, and I’d love to post it, but Owl TV is apparently still editing. I promise to link it at the first opportunity.

In the meantime, I asked all the candidates yesterday for their reaction to the debate. Here are the responses I got, in the order I got them:

Nick Nelson, Boca Governor candidate:

Overall I feel the Debate went smoothly. It was very satisfying to get a good look at the Presidential Tickets and where they stand. As for me, I had a great time hearing the ideas and points of my competitors. As for my platform I will stand by my previous points and work on hearing from the students to make a stronger SG statement on campus. Just want to thank you all for all the hardwork and time you guys put in!

Chuck Forbes, Presidential candidate:

I thought the debates went well, the questions were good, and it gave the candidates a chance to know their opponents on a personal level.

Sai Lo, Boca governor candidate, who noted I didn’t set a word limit:

Please forgive me for the laggardly response. This is the first chance I’ve had to answer my messages today. In response I will have to say that the Student Government Debates last night was nothing less than phenomenal. It is the very essence of what our freedom stands for, whether it be the leaders that arise by a higher calling or the constituents that wish to see what those leaders will provide for them.

But most importantly, it gave those of us seeking the approval of the students a chance to broaden our horizon in our experiences and identify the areas needed for improvement. “The speed of the pack is
determined by the rate of the leader.” And if we as leaders do not improve, how will our great institution of Florida Atlantic University? I learned last night that one of the more unique qualities about me was
that I am a more thorough planner. I rather think more carefully on my responses to give the audience my best rather than give a blatant attempt in answering the questions.

I can whole-heartedly say I gave it my best last night to the new experience of debating. My one regret however was that the Governor-candidates were not given ample or suffice to say ANY opportunities to question our fellow peers as the chance was given to the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. That, I believe would have been the practical method for healthy competition. At a more feasible schedule where it would have been allowed, we the candidates, would have been able to challenge each others’ platforms to question the stability of our plans for the Boca Raton campus.

I hope this will help answer your questions. As always I am available for any questions you might have. Thank you and the rest of the University Press staff for what you do for this fine institution and most of all for making the students aware. In my time here there have been occasions where the UP gets the word out to the students more effectively than Student Government. But nevertheless….

Donald Karney, candidate for Boca Governor:

Thanks for the inquiry.  Overall, I felt that the debate was a good thing for everyone who was involved. I think that the student body can’t go wrong with whoever is chosen to perform the duties of Governor.  Each of us is qualified in our own ways to lead the Boca Raton campus to greatness.

Personally, this was my first debate and I thought it went well. The only adjustments to my platform would be to make it more detailed.  I said that we needed to find ways to generate revenue to make up for the budget cuts.  I now realize, after two people asking me, that I needed to be more detailed in how I want to generate the revenue itself.

I haven’t heard back from anyone else, but if I do, I’ll post their thoughts as well. I’d also love to hear from people who attended, especially if you asked a question — how was it for you guys? Did you get something useful out of the debate, or learn anything interesting? E-mail me your experience and I’ll post it, so long as you aren’t clearly bashing candidates.

Again, video clips ASAP! I can’t control the delay, sorry.

Can Facebook Predict an SG Election?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2009 by Brandon

Probably not.

But it might be fun to compare the results to this chart I’ve compiled, based on who’s friends with who.

sgfacebook3

Why do I subtract 10% at the bottom? Well, it’s an arbitrary amount, I admit — I’m not majoring in statistics. But it’s one way to partially account for people who are part of more than one of the six categories, as well as people who are in one of these but won’t vote.

This tallies up to 3747 votes, which given past participation records sounds like a high number. We’ll see.

But, if Facebook were an accurate indicator (under the assumptions that this is just a popularity contest and college students vote predictably) the result would be a win for the Forbes-Simmons ticket, with 56% of the vote.

However silly all this is, one interesting statistic does come out of it. For both tickets, the candidates recruited very close to 31% of their friends (president’s plus VP’s) to their party’s group. Weird.

SG Quote of the Week

Posted in quote on February 13, 2009 by Brandon

“How many people are running for [student body] president?” — Nick Letteri, Boca House Rep, asking about the SG election at the Feb. 13 House meeting.

Questions for pres candidates?

Posted in elections on February 13, 2009 by Brandon

If you didn’t read in the UP or see the flyers around campus this week, there’s going to be a debate between the presidential tickets on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Boca campus Grand Palm Room. (That’s ground-level in the Student Union.)

The debate’s moderated by the UP and there will be free food (pizza, I’ve heard) as well as a meet-and-greet after, if you happen to care. It should last about 90 minutes. If you can’t make it, video clips will be posted and I’ll link ’em here, too.

If you have any particular questions or topics you’d like to see addressed, e-mail me over the weekend.