Archive for September, 2009

Got Ideas? Tell Me! (And Vote)

Posted in blog-related, Constitution, elections on September 29, 2009 by Brandon

Elections: Round 2 are today and tomorrow. If you haven’t voted but want to, log in through MyFAU and click on the “Vote Now” tab. FYI, Boca students don’t have to check 42 boxes off if they don’t want to — you can just vote for one guy if you want, but no more than 42. Well, and two senators.

My story this week is specifically about the mix-up with the registrar’s office that set back the election, but more broadly it’s about the way SG elections work.  This isn’t the first time I’ve written about elections chairs being hired just before the election, or timelines being too strict and early in the semester, or non-students messing up the process.

It’s about who manages the election, and SG, and what regular students can do about it. A lot of students don’t know or care, but if you’re going to FAU full-time you’re spending $125-200 per semester — depending how many credits you’re taking — to fund SG. That means the people running SG are accountable to you and what you have to say.

And for the youngest of us, this is possibly the first opportunity we have to impact a money-managing governing body. Even if you can and do vote in local or national elections, you have a stronger voice and can make a visible difference in what FAU does with some of your money. Even though there may be over 28,000 students at FAU, fewer than eight percent of them voted last semester. Maybe a little more than one percent of them do anything more than vote, and this election proves how uncompetitive the process of “getting in” can be.

Of course, you don’t have to rely on anyone else to make changes in SG, and you don’t have to get elected to do it, either.

In January, the Constitutional Convention will open things up even more, and anyone who wants to can publicly make a case for changing any of the rules. The Constitution calls for a minimum of 20 people to be involved, and while those 20 people will be hand-picked by people already in power, there is no established maximum and any “currently enrolled students who wish to volunteer for the commission” will be part of the process. If you want in, start thinking about what changes SG needs. I’ll be posting information about getting involved as it becomes available.

In the meantime, if you have ideas, post them in the comments or e-mail me. If I get any interesting or well-reasoned responses, I’ll forward them to SG leaders and Student Affairs officials. I’ll also speak with the editor-in-chief about getting them printed in an upcoming issue. Could be a cool thing to bring up in a job interview, to prove how awesome and involved and non-average you are. Let me know if you’ve got anything, and happy voting.

New Election Dates Were Set More Than a Week Ago

Posted in blog-related, elections on September 25, 2009 by Brandon

But they haven’t been much publicized, have they? Including by me.

A commenter knocked me the other day, quite fairly, for not posting about the new election dates — they’re next Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 29 and 30. I’m sorry for not doing so sooner; I was working on a print story about the election and neglected the blog, when a short update would’ve sufficed.

What I find more disappointing, though, is that anyone has to rely on me to say when the election is.  That is one of the reasons students are paying $4950 a year for an elections chair, right?

[For the record, I could make up to $830 a year writing for the UP — but in reality I don’t make that much, because I don’t fill out time sheets to get paid when I don’t actually write anything.]

Flyers finally went up yesterday in the Breezeway (with a corrected URL) for the new election, but there’s been no university-wide announcement about it. The dates have been firm since at least last Friday — they were stated at the House meeting in Boca, which is when I obviously should’ve posted about it. Sorry.

Edit: Naturally, an announcement went out three hours after me posting this.

SG Election Suspended Because of Registrar Error (Updated)

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2009 by Brandon

Somebody in the Registrar’s Office mistook spring for fall and botched the election, per an FAU announcement half an hour ago (when I was driving home from class):

Due to technical difficulties with the eligible voter list, the current Student Government Legislative Elections have been temporarily suspended until further notice. The voter list sent to the Student Government Elections Board by the Registrar’s Office should have been for the Fall 2009 term, instead the Registrar’s Office inadvertently sent the voter list from the Spring 2009 term. The Elections Board is working to resolve this issue.

To ensure a fair campaign and election on all FAU campuses and in accordance with the Student Government Elections Statute:

324.100 In the case of catastrophic technical or elections process failure, the Student Body President, may upon agreement with the Chair of Elections and the SG Advisor, call a new election and any voter results of the disrupted election will be invalidated.

The SG President and Elections Board have called for a new election to be held at a future date. All previous votes for candidates have been invalidated. The new election date and time will be posted in the near future. We appreciate your understanding and patience regarding this matter.

For more information, please contact the Student Government Elections Board or your respective campus Student Government Advisor:

Elections Chair:
Freddy Moldt
fmoldt@fau.edu
561-297-1357

Boca Raton Campus Elections Commissioner:
Sarah Lanciault
slanciau@fau.edu
561-297-1357

Jupiter Campus Elections Commissioner:
Manesh Gopaldas
mgopalda@fau.edu
561-799-8590

Boca Raton Campus SG Advisor:
Heather Bishara
hbishara@fau.edu
561-297-6777

Jupiter Campus SG Advisor:
Adam Ferrando
aferrand@fau.edu
561-799-8696

Davie Campus SG Advisor:
David Bynes
dbynes@fau.edu
954-236-1001

Fort Lauderdale Campus SG Advisor:
Karen Esteves
kasteves@fau.edu
954-762-5695

Treasure Coast Campus:
Rochelle Popp
rpopp@fau.edu
772-873-3443

Again, we thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Sincerely,

Tiffany Weimar
Student Body President
fau.sgpres@fau.edu

Freddy Moldt
Student Government Chair of Elections
fmoldt@fau.edu

More on this tomorrow.

Update: Haven’t had a chance to talk to the SG adviser, election chair, or anyone in the registrar’s office. Did talk to President Weimar, who says “it was pretty much an honest mistake.” As for when the new election will be, “We don’t know. Obviously we want to expedite it and get it done as quickly as possible.”

They’ve gotten the correct list from the registrar and the SG advisers are working out the eligible voters list, which then has to be filtered through the campus tech people at IRM to the company that handles the e-voting system. President Weimar was unwilling to give an estimated date for the election, but reiterated it was “a top priority.”

Is This a Competitive Election?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2009 by Brandon

In Jupiter and Boca, marginally. Everywhere else, not at all.

Treasure Coast has just six seats and six candidates. Two of them, Speaker Carmela Innamorato and Representative Thomas Lind, are running for re-election. As long as they all get at least one vote, they’re in.

Broward has 12 House seats and, fortuitously, 12 candidates. All five of the sitting House members there are running for re-election. (The rest of the seats were vacant — a common problem everywhere, but especially on the partner campuses. Those seats will now, temporarily at least, fill up.) Likewise they have two senate candidates, one who’s running for re-election and another filling a vacant seat. Same thingfor all these folks: One vote and they’re in.

Jupiter has seven House seats and nine candidates, so the two people with the fewest votes won’t make the cut. Only two are running for re-election: Rep. Richard Smith and Rep. Eric Bishop. Jupiter also has two people running for the pair of senate seats there.

On Boca, there are 42 seats. Guess how many candidates? 43 — so one of the five fill-in candidates is out of luck for now. However, if things go as usual, a handful of newly elected members will never attend a meeting and be forcibly resigned from office, opening up those seats for in-House elections to fill the vacancies. Quite a few of these people are running for re-election or have been in SG previously, though there are at least a dozen names I don’t recognize. Boca’s senate seats are slightly more competitive: four people running for two seats.

If you’re curious about the size of the Houses, each House gets five seats plus one for every 500 students who attend that campus. I wonder when the last time these numbers were recalculated, though — I’ll ask an SG adviser about that.

If you haven’t voted and want to, you can do so at the usual place — not at “www.myfau.edu” as some election flyers in the Breezeway say. Just log in and click on the elections tab. You have until midnight tomorrow. For fun, save your voting record and see if the unlucky couple of people you didn’t vote for make the cut without your help.

Ayala Given Three More Months to Prepare for Trial

Posted in ayala, legal on September 4, 2009 by Brandon

So, I saw Chris Ayala on Wednesday.

I know some readers want an update on the case surrounding him, and others would rather I never mention the guy again. You, of course, might not know anything about it.

Basically, the ex-Boca Raton Student Government treasurer was arrested in April and charged on three counts for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. If you want the back story, check my cover from April. (Be warned that there are graphic details directly from the police report.)

I’ll quickly sum up what I know has happened since I wrote that, and then I’ll tell you what happened when I saw him this week. (Anticlimactic as it is.)

Continue reading

State of the Student Body Address (Semi-Liveblog) [Finished]

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2009 by Brandon

[Note: this entry goes from bottom to top because it started as a liveblog. It’s done now.]

So let’s break down the numbers:

-35 minutes long from the original scheduled start time

-15 minutes of speech time

-Five minutes of thank yous

-Two-minute laundry list of events

-5 minutes of generalities

-Three minutes of substance

Attendance-wise, 100 people confirmed on Facebook. 35 people max showed up. 90% minimum were Student Affairs or SG people.

—————-

3:17. Just now got a late e-mail via Facebook that the event time was changed — albeit half an hour before the speech — to 2:30.  (It was originally scheduled for 2:15.)

2:51. I checked out the renderings. They’re the Rec Center expansion and Innovation Village.

2:50. “We’ve made great strides in … improving procedures … and making Student Government more accessible.” And, predictably, a standing ovation when she concludes with “Go Owls!” She didn’t talk about the renderings.

2:49. Praising and saying goodbye to President Brogan. Says she’s been working with the soon-to-be interim president John Pritchett.

2:48. Talking about textbook affordability.

2:47. “Student Government needs to become a sustainable organization.” Citing her chief of staff, Alex van Mecl, who organized the Mission Green club as well. Talking about going paperless.

2:46. Talking about improving school spirit by adding more Owl banners around campus.

2:44. President Weimar says there will be student town hall meetings this semester, posted on the SG Web site. Not much detail yet. She’s also talking about improving accessibility through e-mail, Facebook, the Web site, etc.

2:43. Citing general accomplishments like encouraging and supporting sustainability and raising activism. Talking about the Florida Student Association, something ex-President Abe Cohen also was involved with but I don’t understand well enough to comment on.

2:42. Talking about parking. “Two new parking lots, one next week and one at the end of September.” She’s also talking about the shuttle bus system she helped jump-start with the police department.

2:41. Now the near-future events.

2:40. Now she’s cycling through all the spirit events since the start of the semester.

2:38. I’ve lost count of the clapping, but we’re still in recognition mode.

2:35. President Weimar is giving her thank yous. 5 rounds of applause so far.

2:34. Starting. Vice President Collene O’Reilly is introducing President Weimar. As her former public speaking instructor, it’s a little weird for me.

2:32. I’ve completed my journalistic investigation of the pizza while waiting. That slice of pepperoni pizza I just finished had about 300 calories.

2:27. There continues to be much finetuning of the renderings’ placements and little sign of starting.  More people are arriving, but not many.

2:24. The free food has arrived. Papa John’s pizza and water, if you wanted to know. (Pepperoni and cheese, if you really wanted to know.)

2:20. Still no sign of starting. About 20 people now. Vice President of Student Affairs Charles Brown just joked that “We’re waiting on President Obama to arrive.”

2:15. Scheduled starting time. President Weimar’s walking in and out. Not sure when they’re starting.

2:10. 15 people here so far, including myself plus SG and admin officials. I see maybe two or three people who look like possibly casual attendees. (i.e. “regular” students). Stuff’s still being set up. Brogan’s Last Run and Homecoming (this is apparently “under construction.”) are being advertised, along with the Rec Center. There’s some renderings down front I assume President Weimar will be discussing.

2:03. The speech site has been moved from Traditions Plaza to the Senate Chambers because of the heavy rain. People are starting to come in and set up.

I’ll be engaging in my first pseudo-liveblogging this afternoon for Student Body President Tiffany Weimar’s address. I’d tweet, but I don’t do Twitter. Just haven’t bothered to experiment with it before. Anyway, here goes.